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Jan 03

Wood River Branch Railroad History

The WRB Plymouth No. 1872 in Hope Valley.

While the model railroad I am working on is freelanced, the basis is the former Wood River Branch Railroad located in southern Rhode Island.  I was googling around to see what information was available online about the railroad and there were some interesting finds.

Here are a few links to explore as you desire:

Langworthy Public Library

The main library in Hope Valley, RI, has an interesting video on line about the history of the town which covers the construction of the railroad.  There is even a few videos of the old railroad in the movie.  Check out the page here.  The video file is large so be prepared for a wait to download.

In addition, the library has a collection of original Wood River Branch documents and photographs in their archives.  (See the list here.)  Since I live a few towns away, I hope to visit the library in the future to see what is in the collection and if there is anything that can be shared.

Plymouth Website

Known as the ‘Peanut Roaster’ on the Wood River Branch, the first diesel on the line was a Plymouth switcher.  This website here has the owner’s manual of the Plymouth scanned as images along with several photos.

Rhode Island Photo Collection

Here is a site with a number of photos of railroads of Rhode Island in the early part of the 20th century.  There are a few photos of the Wood River Branch.  See the site here.

New Haven Historical Society

The Wood River Branch has been featured in a handful of Shoreliners – the New Haven Historical Society’s magazine.  You can visit their website here.  Below is a list of articles and issues with stories about the railroad.

Volume 19 Issue 3 1988

  • “Wood River Branch Railroad” — The history of this Rhode Island short line railroad. 6 pages with photos, map and timetable.
  • “Highlights in the Life of a Shortline Railroad” — Historic dates in the history of the Wood River Branch Railroad. 3-1/2 pages.

Volume 20 Issue 3 1989

  • “More Wood River Branch Railroad” — Two more interesting photos turn up of this Rhode Island short line railroad. 1/2 page with photos.

If anyone has any other links, books, documents which have information about the railroad, feel free to send me an email on the Contact page so I can share them on the website.