Map of the Broadway Horse Railroad, Cambridge

The first railroad in Massachusetts was chartered in 1826. Over the next few decades railroad lines were established throughout the state and became the predominant means of transportation. By 1875, sixty railroad corporations were operating in the state on 3701 miles of track.

Starting in 1836, railroad corporations had to submit reports of their activities to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. In 1871, a Railroad Commission was established to oversee these companies and rail lines. The State Library has digitized many of these reports, proposed railroad maps and related manuscript materials.

Digitized Materials


This project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

This information is provided by The State Library of Massachusetts.