as Built and Operated by J. E. Henry & Sons

The East Branch & Lincoln Railroad

The East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, built by James E. Henry, was the largest logging railroad in New England, covering about 72 miles, sidings included. The railroad lasted far longer than any other logging line in the region. Construction began in 1894 and continued sporadically over a number of years. The last train chugged out of the Lincoln woods in 1948, fifty-four years later. Lincoln Village was the site of a large sawmill and later a pulp mill and a paper mill built by James E. Henry. Henry’s efforts created the large municipality of Lincoln, NH , arising from a wilderness home site in the 1890s.

A large array of locomotives ran on the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, more than any other logging line in New England. J. E. Henry’s operation used seven locomotives, all ‘rod ‘engines with saddle-tanks. The Parker Young Company, a later owner, employed three Shays, one Climax, and five “rod” locomotives, four of them left over from the Henry days. Logs were hauled on individual log trucks or disconnects, and link-and-pin couplers were used right to the very end. 

The entire operation was purchased by the Parker Young Company in 1917 and then later by the Marcalus Manufacturing Company in 1946. Even after the end of the poorly maintained railroad in 1948, the paper mill struggled to continue on in operation until 1980. The failure to meet EPA pollution standards at the mill, followed by the closure of the Boston & Maine Pemi Branch, doomed the paper mill.

Image: East Branch & Lincoln Railroad Map

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