Submitted by Ray Shoop

Marlborough Street Railway - Trolley

The Marlborough Street Railway commenced operating electric cars in 1889. The main trolley route had a southern terminus at the Southboro line. The southern connection was with the Framingham. Southboro and Marlborough Railway. From the southern terminus the trolley line extended up Maple Street, through Mill Lane, and on Maple Street again to Fairbanks Corner (at the intersection of Maple, Main and East Main). It continued westward on Main to Monument Square and north on Mechanic to a point near Russell Street. From here it had a private right of way crossing Ash, Fitchburg, Pleasant Streets and then crossing the Marlborough and Hudson boundary. The northern terminus was at the square in Hudson, here were connections with two other trolley lines. {Concord. Maynard & Hudson- Worcester Consolidated}.

The east end of the Crosstown trolley branch began at Middlesex Square and ran thru East Main, Main, Mechanic, Lincoln. Broad and West Main Streets to Monument Square and returning back to Middlesex Square. On Main Street between Howe (now Court Pl.) and Fairmount {now Newton} Streets.  Two sets of rails were installed enabling the trolley cars to pass.

Note: Middlesex Square (now Parmenter) was then formed by the intersection of  Chipman Ave., Palfrey and Main.  Chipman is now known as Stevens; Palfrey is now known as East Lincoln St. and Main as East Main St..  This picture shows the intersection as it had looked about then.  The small and tall building on the right was where now stands the Exxon Gas Station

While the Framingham, Southboro and Marlborough Railway and the Marlborough Street Railway were separate companies, they operated as a single system. As a combined system, they had 22 route miles and consisted of 16 closed and 22 open passenger cars, seven snowplows and four work cars. The Marlborough Street Railway's carhouse and shop, both wood framed buildings, were located on Maple Street south of Valley Street. A brick power station adjoined the carhouse.

After three serious accidents,  the Marlborough Street Railway was placed into receivership November 27, 1902. On July 25, 1903. its assets and properties were sold. The Marlborough & Framingham Street Railway was organized on August 23rd to take over the Marlborough Street Railway property.

As time progressed, there began a consolidation of the number of trolley companies. The typical consolidation involved the total merger of the properties involved. Such was the case with the Marlborough & Framingham Street Railway in 1904 when it was consolidated into the Boston & Worcester Street Railway (B&W Trolley Air Line). A trend toward consolidation of smaller properties into the larger entities developed, reaching its apex around 1911. The almost universal fare was a single nickel between operating zones.

The “good times” lasted for a short time and the B&W went into receivership in 1925 and emerging in December 1927 as the Boston, Worcester and New York Street Railway. Between 1925 and 1928 all of the branches that served Marlborough were converted to buses.


Marlborough & Westboro Street Railway

Also operating into Marlborough, in May of 1901, was the Marlborough & Westboro Street Railway. The railway extended from North Grafton, Westboro and Southoro to Marlborough via Newton and Florence Streets. This line provided Marlborough citizens an access to lake Chauncy and the State Hospital located in Westboro.

This trolley probably traveled to Westboro for that is where Chauncy Park was
In 1911, the Marlborough & Westboro Street Railway was consolidated into the Worcester Consolidated Street Railway.

Worcester & Marlborough Street Railway

The crosstown trolley branch provided a connection al West Main and Broad Steet with the Worcester & Marlborough Street Railway. The W&M had been built in 1897 and connected Marlborough westward through Northhoro, Shrewsbury to Worcester.  This line also provided another route into Westboro.

In 1901. the Worcester & Marlborough Street Railway was consolidated into the Worcester Consolidated Street Railway.



The information collected for this ‘snapshot history’ is only a tiny part of the knowledge contained in these listed reference books. Much more detailed information on the facts; people and history are available within their pages. They are available through the Marlborough Public Library.

“Cornfield Meet” – Parker, Glenn – 1987

“From Boston to the Berkshires” – Carlson and Harding – 1990

“Trolleys along the turnpike” – Cummings, O.R. – 1975

“Worcester Trolleys Remembered” – Carlson and Harding – 1985

Trolley links


Seashore Trolley Museum - Kennebunkport, Maine - Trolley Museum

The Shore Line Trolley Museum: home

The Connecticut Electric Railway Association


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