skip to main navigation
skip to main content

Dover Library Home

Dover Public Library Logo

QuickButton.gif

B & M Railroad Station

Railroad station 3 e.jpg
The station was located on Third Street.

 

In 1838, after New Hampshire granted the Boston and Maine Railroad permission to cross into the state from Haverhill, Dover voters assented to the tracks passing through their town. The Dover Gazette lobbied against it, stating that the railroad would put men out of work who road the stages and coasting vessels. Dover would "be turned into a town of idlers, under a tyrant's power." When the first B&M locomotive steamed into "Coffin's Cut" on September 1, 1841, great crowds assembled on Arch Street. Most had never seen a train before and one man was heard to remark, "You can't fool me! I know there's a horse in there somewhere."


Railroad Station5 e.jpg


In 1842, a year after the tracks from Boston reached Dover and the Boston and Maine Railroad began carrying passengers to the city, the Third Street Station was built. Soon the railroad added a roundhouse and engine facilities near the Cocheco River. In the days of steam, Dover being midway from Boston to Portland, many trains stopped here to take on water at the Chestnut Street tower. In 1851, the Cocheco Railroad to Alton was completed. In 1874, the Portsmouth and Dover Railroad was formally opened for travel. There were nine railroad staions serving the community:Dover, Cocheco, Folsom Street, Sawyers, Cemetery, Cushing's, Bellamy, Hilton, and Dover Point.



Railroad station 6_WEBlr.jpg
Circa 1898

It was not uncommon for fifty or more trains a day to originate in or pass through Dover, with trains to and from Boston, Portland, Portsmouth, Conway and others, In the winter, ski trains often put on a second locomotive for the run up the Conway branch. In 1919, a new roundhouse was built further east near Oak Street. In 1928, Dover became the headquarters for the Portland division of the B&M and the two-story station was modified to three.

Railroad station 4 e.jpg



In April 1935, B&M's new streamlined "Flying Yankee" was brought into service in Dover. For twenty-two years, this train ran between Boston, Portland, and Bangor, carrying twice its normal capacity during the Second World Was. It was also used to take scenic excursions  to the White Mountains and to White River Junction, Vermont. It served exclusively as a passenger train for almost three million miles, until it was replaced by the Budd diesel rail cars (known in Dover as Buddliners).

 

Railroad station 7.jpg



The steam train was permanently retired from Dover's tracks in 1952, replaced by diesels, and the Chestnut Street water tower has since been demolished. The last passenger train left the city on June 30, 1967.
    from the 1995 Heritage Trolley Tour Booklet

December 14, 2001, passenger service from Portland to Boston, stopping in Dover, resumed with the arrival of Amtrak's Downeaster.

 

This historical essay is provided free to all readers as an educational service. It may not be reproduced on any website, list, bulletin board, or in print without the permission of the Dover Public Library. Links to the Dover Public Library homepage or a specific article's URL are permissible.