hour of every day available, in other words, along the line of the railway
The growing town of Lowell
, with its manufacturing industries, demanded a more rapid transit than an all-day ride and still slower transportation of goods from Boston
As railways had been in use for some years in England
, and had been built in the Middle States
, a railroad was here looked upon as the solution of the problems.
The canal had been a great enterprise in its time, in fact it was the first great engineering effort to be attempted in this section, and was followed by others in various places.
One was even projected through Hoosac mountain
to connect with the Hudson river
The Boston & Lowell Railroad was chartered by the General Court of Massachusetts
The petitioners were opposed by the Canal
Company, who foresaw that the new enterprise would be a damaging rival and who felt that it ought not to be permitted without some redress.
The testimony given and ideas advanced at that time seem singular reading today.
As there was a provision in the charter allowing the erection of toll-gates at intervals, it is evident that use of horses was at first intended, and that people might travel in their own cars on its rails as they had over the old turnpike roads.
Having succeeded in obtaining a charter despite the remonstrance of the canal proprietors, the railway company secured a provision that no other railroad should be built from Boston
within a period of forty years.
As a matter of topographical necessity the railroad followed much the same route as did the canal, save that it took the latter's eastern or original survey through the valley of the Aberjona
, instead of climbing the steeper grade through Woburn
, though it attained a slightly higher level at North Billerica
than did the canal.
It is doubtful, however, if at that time it was thought possible to overcome a grade of sixty feet in one mile, as was