In the 19th century, the railroad played a critical role in West Boylston’s economy. Trains transported goods in and out to the local store, they brought people to work in the town’s factories and mills, and they provided a fast, efficient transport system to connect the little town to the rest of the state. The railways vanished as construction of the Wachusett Reservoir destroyed the town’s economy and ousted a vast portion of its population.
Here are a few pictures to help us remember that time when trains dominated West Boylston’s landscape. One photo depicts a long-lost train station along the Mass Central Railroad looking out to Cowee’s Mill along the river. The other two depict bridges, now completely gone, and a bold train chugging along to its destination. All three photographs predate the reservoir and were likely taken in the 1890s.