Keene, New Hampshire
Nestled in the southwestern part of the state, the City of Keene is the hub of the Monadnock region. When the railroads were king, it was the junction of the Boston & Lowell, Connecticut River, and Fitchburg Railroads with their facilities on either side of Main Street. The Boston & Lowell had a large freight yard and other facilities on the east side of Main Street, which can be seen in the image above. Opposite those on the west side of the road was the location of the station as well as the Fitchburg Railroad's shops, while the Fitchburg had its terminal and facilities on the west side. The Connecticut River Railroad came into town via the Ashuelot Railroad, which utilized the Fitchburg Railroad's resources. Bringing the city together, the Keene Electric Railway provided local transportation, as well as connecting the neighboring towns of Marlborough and Swanzey.
All the rail lines in the city eventually came under the control of the Boston & Maine Railroad in 1900 when it took over the Fitchburg Railroad. The city was like any railroad hub up until 1961 when Nelson Blount's Steamtown U.S.A. moved to Keene. Trains ran up the Cheshire Railroad to Westmoreland in 1962. Blount eventually moved his operation to Walpole/Bellows Falls and then up to Riverside, Vt. The Boston & Maine served the city until 1978, when it cut back its services and utilized the Green Mountain Railroad from neighboring Vermont for local switching. The Green Mountain Railroad eventually purchased the Ashuelot Railroad line, the last remaining line into Keene, in 1981 and served the city until discontinuing all rail service to Keene in 1983.
Like a few of New Hampshire's cities, Keene's old railroad station was replaced. The original depot was located right on Main Street where the Keene Transportation Center is now located, while the newer station was set back away from Main Street. Sadly the newer station was demolished (sometime before 1962) and is now a parking lot. The roundhouse and engine facilites from the Fitchburg Railroad still stand not far from Main Street, renovated and converted to a shopping center. The railbeds within the downtown area have been transformed into walking trails. On the east side of town where New Hampshire Route 101 enters, one can't help but notice the grand arch over Otter Brook that once carried the Cheshire Railroad into town. There would have been another bridge over the road that is now Route 101, but it has long been removed.