Page images














[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]






Worcester, Aug. 15th, 1836.



In submitting for your consideration a Report upon the surveys which have been made during the present season, for a route for the Western Rail-Road, from Worcester to the valley of the Chickopee River, it may be well to premise the description of the several lines which have been examined, by a few remarks upon those features of the intermediate country, which must influence, in a great degree, the character of any, or all the routes, which connect these two. points.

The waters of the Blackstone, upon which the village of Worcester is situated, are separated from those of the Chickopee, by a tract of country, elevated from 450 to 650 feet above the level of the Boston and Worcester Rail-Road at Worcester; presenting, consequently, a summit, between the tributaries of these streams, of the height just named, to be overcome by the Rail-Road.

The numerous branches which rise in this high ground, flow principally from the north to the south, and by their course indicate the general declivity of the country, as well as the direction of the ridges which lie between, or divide the waters. These ridges are of an uniform character; that is to say, they are generally broken by a succession of numerous spurs, and intervening hollows, or ravines. In many places, the spurs or ridges are composed of gravel, intermixed with stone of moderate size; and, not unfrequently, they are formed of entire rock, either Mica-slate, or Gneiss.


Our route being from east to west, or transverse to the general course of the streams and ridges, no line of any extent in that direction, either level, or of a given inclination to the horizon, can be maintained, without resorting, either to a succession of cuttings and fillings, or a constant series of curves. Keeping the difficulties in view in both cases, and avoiding either extreme, we endeavor to adopt a medium, as near as may be, depending in each instance upon the particular locality.

The declivity of the country, on both sides of the summit, in the proper direction for the route, being too great to attempt to cross directly from one valley to the other, without the intervention of inclined planes, we are compelled to deviate from the true course, and conform in a great degree to the direction of the ridges, and to attain the required elevation, by giving to the line such an inclination as may be considered admissible, viz. one which shall be fully within that upon which a locomotive engine may work effectively. Such a line cannot, of necessity, as has been before remarked, be direct in its course; it must in this be governed by the form of the ground. The general character of this portion of the line being understood, we proceed in our attempt to find the best practicable route, across from Worcester to the Chickopee.

The main ridge being sufficiently well defined, as a preliminary step, a line of levels was traced in 1835, along the same, from Charlton to Paxton, about 15 miles, in a direction nearly north, to ascertain the principal depressions. These, as is usually the case in similar situations, were found at those points near which tributaries of different streams have their sources. By this profile, Charlton Meeting-house is about 455 feet above the Worcester Rail-Road, and Paxton Meeting-house about 655 feet above the same point. From this statement it is evident that, so far as the height of the summit is concerned, we must look to the south for the least elevated ground.

The most southern of the depressions, selected for the passage of a route, is near James Ryan's, in the northern part of the town of Charlton, and about three miles north of Charlton centre Meeting-house. It lies between a branch of the French River, and a branch of the Quinebaug, and is elevated 452.41 feet above the Boston and Worcester

Rail-Road, and by the route surveyed, 13.82 miles from it. An uniform grade between the two points would give 32.77 feet per mile. By referring to the accompanying Table, (marked No. 1,) it will be seen how the grades have been established, to conform best with the ground traversed by the line.

In passing north from Ryan's summit, the next depression we have attempted is at Morey's summit, also between the waters of the French River, and those of the Quinebaug, and in the town of Charlton, but near the Spencer line. It is elevated 492.76 feet above the Boston and Worcester Rail-Road, and is 13.31 miles distant from it. An uniform grade to this summit would give 35.51 feet per mile.

Grout's summit, in the town of Spencer, is the third. It lies about 2 miles south of the village, and between the head of a branch of Cranberry Meadow Brook (a branch of the Chickopee,) and the French River. It is 445.75 feet above the Boston and Worcester Rail-Road; and by the valley of the French River, 13.42 miles distant, the uniform grade would be 32.21 feet per mile. Still further north, beyond the line of levels traced along the summit, and in the town of Rutland, there are two depressions, which were determined in 1835, by running a line from Worcester, to the Ware River, in Barre. One is at Bartlett's, 585 feet above the Boston and Worcester Rail-Road; and the other at Gates's, 608 above the same.

Of these summits, it will be seen by referring to the Map, that Grout's is more nearly in the general direction of the route to Springfield, than either of the others; Morey's next; then Ryan's; and that Bartlett's and Gates's are farthest from it. We will now proceed to the particular description of each route, taking Route No. 1, by Ryan's summit, as a base to which the others may be referred, in the comparisons.

Route No. 1, by Ryan's summit, represented on the general Map by a full red line, and on the sheet of Profiles, marked No. 1.

Commencing at a point about 600 feet east of the freight depot of the Boston and Worcester Rail-Road, the line passes south of J. Goddard's house, thence crossing the Blackstone canal, it passes south of G. Trumbull's, and sweeping

« PreviousContinue »