The West Medford MBTA Commuter Rail Station is one of the oldest railway lines in New England.
The original line was built to increase the speed of trade between the burgeoning industrial revolution mill town of Lowell and Boston. The railway was designed to compete with the Middlesex Canal, which was the primary trade route north of Boston since 1795. The Middlesex Canal ran along the present day Sagamore and Boston Avenues in West Medford. By 1830, the goods from the enormous cotton mills in Lowell far exceeded the capacity of the Canal and the Lowell mill owners lobbied the Massachusetts legislature for permission to build a new railroad between Boston and Lowell. At the time, the steam railroad was a new technology, and on June 5, 1835 the Boston and Lowell Railroad opened for business. It quickly supplanted the Canal, which remained operational until 1850.
The Brooks family, one of Medford’s most prestigious and generous families for three hundred years, owned much of West Medford at the time and sold a strip of their land for the railroad tracks and a parcel of land abutting High Street for the building of a station. At the time, much of Medford was still farmland, with a total population of under 3,000 persons.
The initial stop was called "Medford Gates" and it gave birth to West Medford Square and eventually, the surrounding residential neighborhoods. In the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the population of Medford more than tripled, fed by immigration and the explosion of growth in Boston.
There was a depot in West Medford, which was built in 1880? and lasted until 1950, when it burned in a fire? The station was built of natural stones, which came from all over the world. The depot had a long sloping slate roof with terra-cotta ridge caps and a bell-shaped tower capped by a copper finial in the motif of a train. Although the building is long-gone, the finial resides today at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Today, the West Medford Train Station is part of the MBTA’s Lowell Commuter Rail Line that is primarily made up of commuters working in Boston.