Railroad historians Bradford G. Blodget and Richard R. Richards, Jr. have been working on their railroad book, “Iron Roads of the Monadnock Region” for seven years in collaboration with the Historical Society. Blodget and Richards have meticulously researched the history of the railroads in the Region from the years 1847 to 2017 and the relationships with the communities they served. The authors have collected over 750 photographs of historical significance, and the book will contain detailed maps and tables of the rail lines of the Monadnock Region in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The Historical Society of Cheshire County is proud to offer this unique and important two-volume set. Anyone with an interest in this region will be intrigued and informed by the images and information that illustrate the huge impact of the railroad on the history of southwest New Hampshire.

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Table of Contents




Chapter 1

The Vermont & Massachusetts Railroad: the “Hoosac Tunnel Route”

Westminster to Athol, Mass.

Chapter 2

The Cheshire Railroad: the “Main Line of Cheshire County”

South Ashburnham, Mass. to Bellows Falls, Vt.

Chapter 3

The Cheshire: East End

South Ashburnham, Mass. to Joslin, N.H.

Chapter 4

The Cheshire: at Keene

Chapter 5

The Cheshire: West End

Summit to Bellows Falls, Vt.

Chapter 6

The Cheshire: Wrecks and Misadventures

Chapter 7

The Cheshire: Special, Late, and Last moves

Chapter 8

The Sullivan (County) Railroad

Bellows Falls, Vt. to Charlestown, N.H. Townline

Chapter 9

The Ashuelot Railroad: the Valley Route to Keene

East Northfield, Mass. to Keene, N.H.

Chapter 10

The Ashburnham Railroad

Chapter 11

East of Monadnock: the Worcester & Contoocook Route

The Boston, Barre & Gardner, Monadnock, and Peterborough & Hillsborough Railroads

Gardner, Mass. to Hillsboro, N.H.

Chapter 12

The Ware River Railroad: “The Albany Road”

Templeton to Winchendon, Mass.

Chapter 13

The Manchester & Keene Railroad

Greenfield to Keene, N.H.

Chapter 14

The Connecticut River Railroad Extension

East Northfield, Mass. to Brattleboro, Vt. via Dole Jct., N.H.

Chapter 15

The Granite Boom: Quarry Roads

Chapter 16

Running Under Wires: Electric Roads

Index to Railroad Stations and Localities

Sources and Bibliography

Don’t want to order online? No problem…..print order form and mail to Historical Society of Cheshire County.


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About The Authors

Bradford G. Blodget

Bradford G. Blodget


Growing up in Worcester, Mass. in the 1950s, author Brad Blodget could often be found on his bicycle, trackside along the Boston and Maine Railroad watching trains. After graduating from the Worcester Public Schools, he received his BA, with a major in biology at Clark University and later earned an MS in wildlife biology at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst in 1978. He moved on to a career with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, most of it as State Ornithologist, before retiring in 2002. Soon after that, released from his professional career, a long-suppressed passion for railroad history exploded. He acquired the train symbol nickname “WX-1” for his frequent research trips between Worcester, Keene, and Bellows Falls, Vt.  Brad, is an active member of the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society and the Railroad Locomotive and Historical Society and resides in Holden, Mass.  His first book, Marium Foster’s Boston & Maine Railroad, appeared in 2011.

Richard R. Richards

Richard R. Richards


Growing up in Greenfield Massachusetts in the 1960’s, co-author Richard “Dick” Richards grew up in a railroad family. His father was a freight and passenger Conductor for the Boston & Maine Railroad. He developed his love of trains early on. He could often be found at the Greenfield railroad station watching trains or while on school vacations riding the rails with his father. After attending public schools and graduating from Greenfield High School Dick enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He served as a Security Policeman at bases in Southeast Asia, the Continental U.S., and the Republic of Korea. Upon leaving the service he followed in his father’s footsteps for a brief time as a Trainman and Conductor for the Boston & Maine Railroad. He moved to Keene New Hampshire and embarked on a 30 year career with the Keene Police Department. During that time he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Franklin Pierce College, retiring from the department at the rank of Lieutenant. Upon retirement he rekindled his interests in railroads and most specifically the historical aspects of the industry. He was able to pursue these interests through his volunteer efforts at the Historical Society of Cheshire County. This is also where he met and began working with co-author Brad Blodget. Dick is a member of the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society, the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. Dick is married to his wife of 36 years, Louise Moody Richards, and resides in Swanzey New Hampshire. They have a grown daughter, Kathryn E. Richards, who is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.