The railroad tunnel was built in 1839, serving the Eastern Railroad, which in 1838 was servicing nineteen passenger trains to Boston daily. Other branches north to Lawrence and Gloucester added to the prosperity of businesses in Salem.
Downtown traffic began to increase and a plan to make a new tunnel and eliminate the grade crossings was started. In July 1949, bids went out for the first stage of what would be a 3 stage and 10 year project. First was the elimination of the Bridge Street grade crossing at the north end of the tunnel. The tunnel would be extended and Bridge St. would run over it. Later, Norman and Mill St. would cross above the tunnel. Razing the old Salem Depot in 1954 was another project. Construction of a dike at the south shore of the North River to protect the new tunnel from flooding was one of the last projects, as was construction of a new low-level station. By the summer of 1958, most of the work was done and the first train went out on July 31, 1958.
- Postcard Image courtesy of CardCow.com
- Vertical File in Salem Collection - Salem Tunnel
- Historical Sketch of Salem by Chas. Osgood, p.233.
- "The Great Salem Tunnel Relocation Project" B & M Bulletin, Fall 1975, p. 5-12.
- Salem's face lifting project moves on" Salem Evening News, Jan. 23, 1951, p.1