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MBTA - Plimpton Street Railroad Bridge


Photo taken by P. K. Lazrus


View this photo at mhc-macris.net

BH Photo #318996


Street Views 


Riveted steel through plate girder bridge carrying MBTA Franklin Branch (MBTA Franklin Line) over Plimpton (Plympton) Street at milepost 17.68 in the East Walpole section of Walpole, Massachusetts. One girder (one track) has since been removed.

MBTA Historical Property Survey 

Written by P. K. Lazrus

"The portion of the Franklin Line extending from Readville to Franklin was originally conceived of as two, short, branch lines; the Walpole Railroad, linking Walpole with Dedham, and the Norfolk County Railroad that ran from Walpole to Franklin. The Walpole Railroad was chartered but never actually built. It was vigorously contested because the populous wanted a local line independent from the larger rail lines planned to Connect Boston with New York City and the upstate Hudson River region. The Norfolk County Railroad, chartered in July, 1847, was promoted by wealthy Blackstone millowner Welcome Farnum (1796-1874). The line was opened for service from Boston to Blackstone on 16 May 1849. Farnum's plan was to extend the line through to the Hudson River in order to bring coal form Pennsylvania mines into New England. Farnum had the proposed route surveyed as far as the Hudson River at his own expense, and in 1853, the line was extended as far west as Southbridge, Massachusetts. Farnum's failure during the Panic of 1857 spelled the end of his involvement with the railroad, but the line was completed to Fishkill Landing on the Hudson in 1881. The Norfolk County Railroad went through several reorganizations, consolidations, and name changes between 1858 and 1869 when the line became part of the New York and New England Railroad. In 1898 the New York and New England became the last major acquisition to come under direct control of the New York New Haven and Hartford Railroad.

The builder's plate identifies the 1905 span having been constructed by the Boston Bridge Works, New England's largest bridge fabricator. The three, simply supported, riveted, build-up plate girders carried two sets of track. The western set has been removed. The bridge was part of the 1900s upgrading of the route undertaking by the NYNH&H, and the girders are representative of those used by the company at that time. In general, thru and deck plate girder bridges on this line were designed and construction directed by the engineering department of the NYNH&H. C. M. Ingersoll was the chief engineer and W. H. Moore the engineer of bridges. The bridges were fairly standard deck plate girders utilized whenever conditions would permit using two girders for each track."

- Massachusetts Historical Commission (P.K. Lazrus, MBTA Historic Property Survey, 11/1987)


Pony/through plate girder bridge over Plimpton Street on MBTA Franklin Branch (MBTA Franklin Line)
Walpole, Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Open to railway traffic, and to vehicle traffic below
Built 1905 by Boston Bridge Works; 1 girder (1 track) removed later on
- Boston Bridge Works of Boston, Massachusetts
- C. M. Ingersoll
- W. H. Moore
- Commuter Rail
- Conrail (CR)
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
- New York & New England Railroad (NYNE)
- New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (NH)
- Norfolk County Railroad
- Penn Central Railroad (PC)
Riveted steel through plate girder carrying 1 track
Length of largest span: 43.0 ft.
Deck width: 27.0 ft.
Skew angle
35 degrees
Also called
MBTA - Plympton Street Railroad Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.15899, -71.23593   (decimal degrees)
42°09'32" N, 71°14'09" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/315282/4669848 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 66628 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 22, 2015: New Street View added by Erich Pfistner