Mile 2.6: Arlington, Rhode Island
A composite image of a HP&F seat check, a New Haven Timetable, and a snippet of the Providence Quadrangle showing the area in Cranston where the railroads diverged
The old Hartford, Providence, and Fishkill seat check at far left calls the station stop in this area Olneyville. The New York, New Haven, and Hartford schedule in the middle calls it Arlington. Those are two adjacent neighborhoods, one in Providence (Olneyville, famous for its Hot Wieners) and one in Cranston. But they're clearly the same station, 2.5 miles from Union Station, and that puts it just after the HP&F diverged from what is today's Northeast Corridor.

To understand the railroad history of the site, I visited in multiple ways. The first set of photos will come from the trip I took on a modern MBTA Providence Line local train through the Northeast Corridor part of the junction. The next set will come from a time I walked Cranston St on foot. And finally, there will be some from a bike ride I took from River Point (MP11) east, to try and use the milage listed in the timetable above to locate station sites.

The March, 1913 timetable lists a lot of local stops along the HP&F/NY&NE/Hartford Branch. On today's Washington Secondary Trail, the depots in Coventry are well marked with signs and historical photos, but in West Warwick, Warwick, and Cranston, there's no such clues as to where you are. I was also intrigued by the fact that the Washington Secondary trail begins on Depot Ave, very close to the Northeast Corridor, but according to Edward Ozog's site the Cranston Depot was further up the line on Dyer Ave at the Cranston Print Works. I suspected that the Washington Secondary trail must begin at one of the two stations listed between Dike Street and Cranston, but I wanted to be sure.

I decided that the best way to accomplish finding the suburban station sites and confirming which depot the "depot" in Depot Ave referred to was to hop on a bike. The easternmost station I thought I knew the site of with any certainty was River Point in West Warwick, at Mile 11. I thus took my 1913 timetable and subtracted each listed miles from 11, to determine how far I'd have to ride to get to each. I downloaded an Android app called Bike Ride Tracker. Bicycle GPS by Oxagile LLC, got on my bike at Horgan Elementary in West Warwick, and was off.
Using the 1913 timetable and a bike GPS app to locate station sites
There was a bug in the app so that the time continually reset, rendering my speed and health data useless, but it did a good job tracking my location. The very beginning of the Washington Secondary, at Depot Ave in Cranston, is 8.4 miles from River Point, which is exactly where the timetable predicts the Arlington Station would be. The 1972 RI state aerial photography shows this location is adjacent to the middle section of the Narragansett Brewery, today demolished.

For the fascinating history of this area to make sense, I recommend aerial photography. Please go here on Google Maps:
and turn the satellite images on.

  You should now be looking at the letter A. The left side of the A is the trees lining the abandoned HP&F trackway and the rail trail. The right side of the A is the extant Northeast Corridor. The cross piece of the A is Cranston Street.

On our Wickford Junction bound MBTA train, № 815, we will approach the top point of the A and continue down the right side. We will see the left side (the HP&F) veering off.
Inside the triangle made at the top of the A, the United Traction Electric Company once had a trolley barn, which became part of the Narragansett Brewery. It is the large vacant space you can see being developed in these photos. Across from it on Cranston St was the brewery proper, where the police station now is.

As always on this site, the photos go from east to west.
Click on the thumbnail for the full resolution image
A frame from a video file of the Northeast Corridor just before the locaton of the switch to the Washington Secondary
A frame of a video taken from MBTA train № 815 at about milepost 182.8. We are just emerging from under Union Ave in Silver Lake, Providence, and the building is 176 Union Ave. The 1972 RI State aerial photos show the switch onto the HP&F was located at the very far corner of this building (12/2023.)
The back side of 176 Union Ave, the building behind which the HP&F diverged from the Northeast Corridor
A tiny bit further than in the previous frame. The purpose of this photo is to show the appearance of 176 Union Ave, which is hard to see in the first and 3rd photos, which are railroad wise more important (12/2023.)
A still from a video showing where the switch was between the Northeast Corridor and the HP&F
The very south edge of 176 Union Ave is visible at far right. The tracks of the Northeast Corridor (which we are on) are noticably curving away towards the east, whereas the old HP&F would have followed the line of the back of the building here.This is the top of the A shape discussed above. (12/2023.)
A still frame of a movie shot as a Northeast Corridor train diverges from the route of the old HP&F
The next building still standing from the 1972 aerial photos is ABC Roofing Supplies at 200 Whitehall St. The HP&F main would be parallel to the back of this building, and about halfway between the building and the tracks our train is on. The building did have a rail spur off the HP&F to serve it directly, this would have to be accessed from a Providence-bound train on the HP&F. (12/2023.)
A wooded thicket containing the old HP&F trackway adjaent to the northeast corridor
The abandoned trackway is in this wooded thicket. It runs parallel to the houses along Lincoln Ave, the first of which we can see through the trees here (12/2023.)
The site of the Cranston trolley barn
This is the site of the former trolley barn of the United Traction Electric Company which later became part of the Narragansett Brewery. We are on a Northeast Corridor train moving down the right side of the A shape discussed above. The former HP&F is easy to spot- it is behind the line of houses on Lincoln Ave (at right) and is in a line of trees. The trolley barn site is the triangle surrounded by the A frame, and we can see here in 2023 that it is being developed. The 1972 RI state aerial photos show a spur from the HP&F serving this property (12/2023.)
The location of the former trolley barn of the United Traction Electric Company
Another look at the trolley barn site. This is our last look from the Northeast Corridor, which past this point is too far east to show us much along the HP&F, which is still parallel to the backs of the Lincoln Ave houses. Our next shot will be from Cranston Street, looking north from where the trackway goes under Cranston St. (12/2023)

Looking down and north  towards the Northeast Corridor
Looking down and north towards the Northeast Corridor onto the disused HP&F trackway. This is off the Cranston Street overpass in November, 2023.
Looking across Cranston Street to the south side of the overpass
Looking across Cranston Street to the south side of the overpass. The red brick building is the Cranston Police Department, and this was once the site of the Naragansett Brewery (11/2023.)
Looking down and south towards Cranston
Looking down and south at the abandoned roadbed towards the depot. (11/2023)
Looking North from Depot Ave at the start of the Washington Secondary Trail
Looking North from Depot Ave at the start of the Washington Secondary Trail. The guardrail marks the very beginning of the rail trail. Beyond the guardrail lies the abandoned roadbed seen above. This is my best guess at the site of the Arlington station stop seen in my March, 1913 timetable. (11/2023)
Looking West on Depot Ave
Looking West on Depot Ave from the Arlington Station site and the beginning of the Washington Secondary trail. (11/2023)
A vintage photo of the Narragansett Brewery
The Narragansett Brewery in a vintage view provided by the Providence Public Library. I think this is looking south, and that Depot Ave comes towards the front of the building from the right. This would be on the left side of the photo below.

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Looking south down the Washington Secondary.
Looking south down the Washington Secondary. Ahead lie 19 miles of paved rail trail to Summit, RI, and eventually the entire 30 miles to Moosup, CT will be usable. (11/2023)
The remains of a small spur behind the Harris House Apartments
The remains of a small spur or a second track behind the Harris House Apartments is the only rail I've seen anywhere east of River Point along the Washington Secondary. (11/2023)
A nod from a neighbor about the Washington Secondary Trail's history
A nod from a neighbor about the Washington Secondary Trail's history (11/2023)

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