The first railroad to be constructed in New Hampshire was the Nashua & Lowell Railroad, extending Massachusetts's first railroad between Boston and Lowell. By train, goods could now travel between the mill cities and down to Boston in under an hour, rather than the day it took to travel by horse-drawn wagon or canal. Besides being faster, railroads provided reliable year-round service as canals would freeze during the winter and stagecoach paths would become muddy and be nearly impassible during spring thaws.
As technology improved from the first trains of the 1830s, trains were able to haul more people and goods faster and farther - but so did other modes of transportation. As the car and truck industry developed along with the railroads, and highways were built parallel to most railroad routes, the short distances between communities in New England lent itself to trucking and personal automobiles being the economical choice. Today, the railroad network in New Hampshire is a fraction of what it once was, but it still does what it was built for well - moving bulk commodities and products long distances efficiently.
New Hampshire's early railroad history can be found within these pages.