In 1862, the Blackinton Railway Station opened in order to support the growing mill community of Blackinton. New rail lines led to the depot which was located behind the Blackinton Mill. The railway was not only valuable for shipping raw and finished materials needed for the mill, but it was used to transport new immigrant workers to the developing mill town.
Owned and operated by the Boston and Maine Railroad company, the station served as a major transporter for the industries and merchants of Blackinton until being torn down shortly after the end of World War Two.
In 1836, the Boston and Maine Railroad (B&M) company purchased the Wilmington Railroad company. With the purchase of these new rail lines, B&M began to expand their shipping capabilities from Boston to the mountains of western Massachusetts and Vermont. At its peak, the B&M Railroad company owned and operated over 2,300 miles of rail line, owned over 1,200 train locomotives, and had a workforce of over 28,000 employees.
The onset of the Civil War created a need for blue wool army cloth, and between October of 1861 and March of 1862, the Blackinton mill operated around the clock. During the peak of the mill’s production, the mill made an estimated $1000 dollars a day. With the boom in production, the mill needed a railroad to support the influx of goods and workers arriving daily to the booming town. In 1862, the Blackinton Freight Depot opened.
Along with other areas, Blackinton benefitted from the construction of the Hoosac Tunnel in North Adams. This famous engineering landmark, almost 5 miles long, opened up rail traffic between Fitchburg and points west. Construction began in 1851 and finished almost a quarter century later in 1875. By the end of construction, 152 men had been killed and another 47 had been injured.
The B&M railway’s Fitchburg division serviced western Massachusetts until the Blackinton Freight Depot was demolished in 1947. After the demolition the Fitchburg division still sent trains but they only stopped in North Adams and Williamstown. In 1983, the Boston and Maine Rail Company was sold to Timothy Mellon, founder of Guilford Transportation Industries. Guilford Transportation Industries later became Pan Am. Today Pan Am continues to operate trains on the rail line where the Blackinton station used to stand. Like the Blackinton Mill itself, the rail line is just a reminder of the people and goods that used to flow through the Blackinton community.