The Midland Railroad received a charter in 1850 to build from Boston to a connection with the Norfolk County RR at West Dedham (later Islington). This line provided Norfolk County with its own access to Boston without having to use the Boston & Providence Railroad. Before it was built, however, the Midland was consolidated with the Norfolk County and another unbuilt Connecticut company to form the Boston & New York Central Railroad.
The Boston & New York Central Railroad company completed the Midland line in January 1855 and began service with passenger trains. Dorchester residents obtained an injunction six months later to stop the service because they contended that the grade crossings were dangerous and should be replaced with bridges. The line was put back into service only when the injunction was lifted in December, 1856.
The Boston & New York Central was always a marginal railroad. The Midland and the rest of the company was transferred to the East Thompson Railroad in March, 1857, which operated the line for one year. A new Midland Railroad succeeded the Boston & New York Central in 1858, but the line was intermittently in and out of service. Bankruptcy did not improve the use of the line, and in 1863 it was acquired by the Boston, Hartford & Erie Railroad. In December 1866 the trustees of the Norfolk County Railroad agreed to lease their line to the Boston, Hartford & Erie Railroad, and the Midland resumed full operation in 1867.
From 1875 it seems to have been operated by the New York and New England Railroad. After its takeover in 1898 by the New Haven Railroad, it declined into only a branch line. Commuter service between Boston and Readville ended in March, 1944.
Karr, Ronald Dale. The Rail Lines of Southern New England: A Handbook of Railroad History. Pepperell, MA: Branch Line Press, 1995.
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Created: February 20, 2005 Modified: February 20, 2005