When the railroad-building craze hit the US in the 1830’s, the political and commercial interests in Boston sought to access the vast market potential in the burgeoning west. A rail charter was granted to build a line west from Boston to the New York line. The first leg to Worcester, the Boston and Worcester, was rapidly completed. The rest of the line, the Western Railroad of Massachusetts, through the Berkshire Hills, was surveyed, designed and constructed by a talented civil engineer, George Washington Whistler- yes, he was “Whistler’s Father”.
His route was graded for double track right from the beginning. His marvelous stone arch viaducts, known today as “Whistler’s Arches”, between Chester and Middlefield, have been designated National Historical Landmarks. This video represents 55 years in the history of the B&A and the Western! From the B&A’s own “Hudsons” and “Berkshire” locomotives in 1934, to Conrail C32-8’s and Amtrak F40’s in 1990, with New York Central and Penn Central diesels in between, this is the definitive history of this busy line to Boston.