Portland & Rochester Railroad

The Portland and Rochester Railroad, established in 1867, was an important predecessor railway of the Rochester to Portland branch line of the Boston and Maine Railroad. It was founded in the merger of several smaller shortline rail transport companies, the oldest being the shortline York and Cumberland Railroad which was formed in 1846 to connect the seaport facilities of Portland, Maine, to the water powered manufacturing and textile industries along the Quampheagan Falls on the Salmon Falls River in the twin towns of South Berwick, Maine, and Rollinsford, New Hampshire (ca 1850[1]).

Portland & Rochester Railroad
LocalePortland, Maine to Rochester,NH
& Nashua, NH
Dates of operation1846, 1847, 1867–1883
SuccessorWorcester, Nashua and Rochester Railroad
then the Boston and Maine Railroad (1886)
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
This article covers three shortline railroads founded during the earliest days of North American railroad history: the York and Cumberland Railroad (1846), the Nashua and Rochester Railroad (1847), and the Portland and Rochester Railroad (1867), created by a merger of the two.

A year later another investor group began a railway leading inland to the upcoming mill town of Nashua, New Hampshire, inspiring the easier to construct leg founded as the Nashua & Rochester Railroad (1847). The York and Cumberland opened to Gorham, Maine, in 1851 under the direction of Maine railroad pioneer John A. Poor and was extended in 1853. The York and Cumberland was reorganized as the Portland and Rochester Railroad in 1867, and merged to the Nashua and Rochester, and was completed to Rochester, New Hampshire, in 1871, providing a connection to Canada via the Grand Trunk Railway in Portland to inland cities further west that connected to Worcester, Massachusetts.

In 1883 this entity briefly merged with the Worcester & Nashua Railroad and became part of the Worcester, Nashua and Rochester Railroad, which three years later was succeeded by the Boston and Maine (leased the road rights in 1886, acquired ownership later) as it grew into the regional giant; the line is still owned by its successor.


  1. ^ "59 U.S. 246 - The York and Cumberland Railroad Company v. John G Myers". openjurist.org. August 15, 2013.