ASHLAND — As part of the Boston to Montreal line, the Boston, Concord and Montreal Railroad traveled on a route from Concord to Wells River, Vt. from 1845-1853. In 1849 it reached Holderness Village, now Ashland. A station was built to accommodate passengers and freight, but by 1869 the activities were split and a passenger station was built. In 1891 the station was moved and renovated to the Ashland Railroad Station Museum. The rail line was eventually leased to the Boston & Maine Railroad in 1895, and the last passenger train north of Laconia ended in Oct. 1959.
The train was important to Ashland, transporting residents to Plymouth or Laconia to shop or be entertained. The freight station saw deliveries to and from the mills, bringing raw materials and taking finished products to market. In Feb. 1960, the station was sold to Joseph Curley, and donated by his wife after his death to the Ashland Historical Society in 1980. From 1997-98 the station was restored through a federal grant. It opened to the public in 1999 as a museum. The Hobo Railroad in Lincoln and the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad in Meredith lease the line, used for special events and fall foliage tours.
On Sept. 14, the public is invited to celebrate the railroad station’s 150th anniversary at 11 a.m. Visit the museum and learn the history. Food, music, souvenirs, and displays will be available. At 4 p.m. “The Ashland Special” will arrive for rides to the Plymouth Railroad Station for demonstrations of Civil War era dance and music.
To reserve seats, call 603-745-2135. Tickets may be purchased by check, payable to Ashland Historical Society, with “RR150” in the memo line and mailed to P.O. Box 175, Ashland, NH 03217. Tickets will be available at the station on the day of the ride. Coach class tickets are $25 for ages four and up, and first class tickets are $30. Ages three and under ride for free. Children under 16 with a ticket will receive a free railroad hat and red kerchief. All tickets will be entered into a chance drawing.