Abandoned New Hampshire: Westboro Rail Yard

A quick jaunt out of White River Junction, Vermont brings you to West Lebabnon, New Hampshire on the east side of the Connecticut River. This is the site of the abandoned Westboro Rail Yard, which is designated a brownfield and awaiting redevelopment and migitation. Though adjacent to a large asphalt paved area of land, the buildings themsevles are fenced off and hidden by overgrown trees and brush.

Westboro Rail Yard.

The NH Division of Historical Resources wrote a brief history and evaluated the condition of the site. Read it here.  A 2009 public policy study conduted by students at Dartmouth College includes a brief history of the site:

“The site served as a rail yard from 1847 until the 1970s. It was then vacant until the state of New Hampshire purchased the 19.1-acre property from Boston and Maine Railroad Company and “restored rail service in 2000 under an operating agreement with Claremont Concord Rail Company.”2 The northern acre, the parcel being considered for cleanup and revitalization, was first developed during the mid 1930s and early 1940s to be used as a bulk oil storage facility for Tidewater Oil Company, who leased the land from Boston and Maine Railroad Company. Concrete above ground storage tanks (ASTs), which were removed from the site in the 1970s, contained an unknown amount of an unknown oil type. Tidewater Oil Company shut down in the 1960s. Over the next 25 years, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) removed all remaining concrete ASTs and off-site buildings before using it as a temporary roadwork equipment storage area.”

View towards the roundhouse.

The roundhouse.

Overgrown.

The roundhouse showing the fence and many alterations.

Beyond the roundhouse is a building shell; look closely and you can see the exposed roof framing.

Industrial areas – the gritty, blue collar society places of work – are becoming more in vogue for redevelopment. Maybe this site has a bright future. Check out some site proposals here.

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8 thoughts on “Abandoned New Hampshire: Westboro Rail Yard

  1. emuzzey says:

    There’s a lot more history on the railyard in the files of the NH Division of Historical Resources in Concord, NH. In 1999 and again in 2003, as part of NHDOT projects, the yard was inventoried and determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The years since have been tough on the buildings and structures there. It’s one of a few remaining rail yards in New Hampshire. Although they were once common, yards, or remnants of yards, today remain in only Dover, Keene, Bartlett, North Conway, Concord and North Walpole.

  2. Northern New England Villages says:

    Woodsville, NH, about 40 miles north of West Lebanon, was also once a major train yard thanks to its strategic location as one of the few crossings over the Connecticut River that was not prone to flooding–before the dams were built. The bridge was actually a double-decker that allowed for train traffic up top and other traffic below. It was originally wooden, but was replaced with a steel span that still stands today (unused unfortunately). The train station and a few of the old hotels that serviced passengers still stand (though one, the Henderson Block, is in foreclosure and desperately needs a developer). To see pictures of this former rail town, visit: http://northernnewenglandvillages.com/gallery-pictures/new-hampshire-haverhill/

  3. George Chapman says:

    Makes me sad to see these photos of the Westboro yard. In the mid to late 1940s I had two newspaper customers in the yard; one in the machine shop and another in a little yard office building.

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