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MBTA - Providence Highway Railroad Bridge


Photo taken by P. K. Lazrus


BH Photo #318949


Street Views 


Steel through plate girder bridge carrying MBTA Franklin Branch (MBTA Franklin Line) over the Providence Highway (US Route 1) at milepost 12.25 in the Islington part of Westwood, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Historical Commission 

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 thru plate girder is composed of two girders with an I-beam floor system supporting a concrete deck. It has concrete abutments. The riveted, built-up, through plate girder was constructed in 1932, probably to accommodate the widening of U.S. 1, the major, north-south highway of its day."

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


Pony/through plate girder bridge over Providence Highway (US 1) on MBTA Franklin Branch (MBTA Franklin Line)
Westwood, Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Open to railway traffic, and to vehicle traffic below
Built 1932 to replace former bridge during highway widening
- 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)
Steel through plate girder
Length of largest span: 99.0 ft.
Total length: 100.5 ft.
Also called
Norfolk County Railroad Bridge over Route 1
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.22319, -71.18180   (decimal degrees)
42°13'23" N, 71°10'54" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/319937/4676861 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
BH 66600 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 21, 2015: New Street View added by Erich Pfistner