The Salem and Lowell Railroad
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For the purposes of this page, I am considering the Salem and Lowell to run from Lowell to Salem even though technically it used trackage rights to enter both Salem and Lowell.
Therefore I will be referring to what was really the Lowell and Lawrence as part of the Salem and Lowell. When I do a page on the Lowell and Lawrence I will then be referring to the same track as the Lowell and Lawrence. I am also referring to some Essex RR trackage as the Salem and Lowell as well.
The above map was taken from Street Atlas 3. I had to draw in the middle section of the railroad as it had been abandoned a long time ago and didn't appear on this map. The lines that I drew are very close to where the right of way is but they are still approximate.
We are fortunate that most of this line is still intact and is out there to explore.
I have found several bridge abutments and quite a bit of right of way in good shape.
I have been using aerial photographs to see what remains of a line and I am including some of that photography on this site.
I have found the aerial photography to be an excellent tool in easily determining which parts of a right of way remain and are worth exploring.
According to Ron Karr and his Railroads of Southern New England book, the Salem and Lowell was completed in the summer of 1850. The line from Wilmington Jct to Tewksbury Jct was abandoned in 1925. From North Reading to Wilmington Jct the line lasted until 1935. From S. Middleton to North Reading the line lasted another four years. In 1962 the line from Peabody to West Peabody was abandoned. The section from West Peabody to S. Middleton remained in use up to about the Guilford era.
There is still iron from about route one, to S. Middleton. It's not really passable in many places but it is still there. The diamond has been taken out and tossed aside, literally.
The track connecting the line to Newburyport with the Salem and Lowell is still there. In order to get to S. Middleton, a train coming from Wakefield would switch onto a connecting track at West Peabody and head towards route 1. They would then presumably run around the train and then cross the diamond over the line to Newburyport and head up to South Middleton.
I have not been down there since the beginning of summer 2002 but I expect everything that I still described is still there as I write this in early November 2002.
I'll be adding more to this section on a regular basis.
Sometime in 2003/2004 the iron from the diamond at West Peabody up to Lowell St was ripped up making for a nice mess with only the ties strewn about.
Sometime in 2004 the Johnson St bridge that carried Johnson St over the Salem and Lowell has been removed and they are working on replacing it. As of the fall of 2004 only a foot bridge replaced the original wooden road bridge, Johnson St. being turned into a dead end street.
Here are the first in the series of aerial photos. These photos cover from Lowell to Tewksbury Jct.
Aerial Photos from Tewksbury to Wilmington Jct.
The Salem and Lowell Passed Through the Following Towns
The above map shows the Salem and Lowell where it begins in Lowell going east to just beyond Wamesit.
Tewksbury Jct to Wilmington Junction, then getting close to West Peabody Junction.
Here we see the Salem and Lowell heading into Salem. Technically the line stopped where it joined the so called Salem and Lawrence, the Essex RR, and continued into Salem on trackage rights.