Fall River Line and Other Steamers
1875, the Old Colony Railroad had developed a network of railroad
lines extending from New York to Boston and southeastern Massachusetts.
Steamers connected the railroad lines at various points. Bachelder's
1875 Popular Resorts and How to Reach Them noted that
the Old Colony Railroad route was the most beautiful for summer
day trips from points north. 
to historian Edwin Dunbaugh, the Fall River Line became the standard
route for travel to and from New York City. 
1847, the line was originally owned by the Bay State Steamboat
Company. During the Civil War, the line suspended service to Fall
River, traveling between New York and Newport for six years. Service
to Fall River resumed in 1869.
After passing through several hands, the line came to rest in
1912 with the New England Steamship Company, where it remained
until the line's service ended in 1937. The New England Steamship
Company also operated steamers from Providence, Rhode Island;
New Bedford, Massachusetts; and New Haven, Bridgeport, and New
London, Connecticut. 
Overnight from New York
The Fall River Line steamers docked at piers on the North River
in New York City. The boats left in the evenings, easing out into
the East River, then heading east on Long Island Sound to Newport.
The boats arrived in the early morning hours in Fall River. Passengers
disembarked from the steamers there and boarded the Old Colony
Railroad trains. They arrived in Boston in time for their morning
Fall River Line
Sunday evenings, passengers left Boston for New York from the
Old Colony Railroad Depot. They boarded the steamers in Fall River
and traveled to Newport, then continued on the overnight trip
back to New York. 
overnight vessels, the Fall River Line steamers offered staterooms,
dorm berths, and salon chairs for their guests. A September
20, 1881, advertisement from the Fall River Daily Evening
News listed prices for first-class tickets at $3, and
for second-class tickets at $2.25.  Room prices for the
full route ranged from $1 to $5 per person. 
Free passes were available for some dorm berths on the lower
deck. Competition from other lines kept prices low enough
for passengers of all classes to ride the ships.
"On the Old
Fall River Line"
Fall River Line steamers were popular with both businessmen
and summer travelers. Fall River residents took the steamers
to Newport for the enjoyment of an evening ride, returning
to Fall River by train. 
For several summers the Fall River
Line operated a separate "Newport Line," the first of the
line's double service to accommodate summer travelers. 
historian Roger Williams McAdam has called the Fall River Line
steamers "floating palaces," because their interiors resembled
those of the estates of upper-class families. 
Fall River Line
The Fall River Line steamships' gilded interiors appealed not
only to the wealthy clientele who rode the ships, but to middle-class
passengers as well. The ships gave people of other classes the
actual experience of spending a night within the architectural
splendor of wealth.
Other passenger steamboat lines plied northeastern waters, carrying
businessmen and summer travelers to and from resort areas.
Wickford Railroad & Steamboat Company began steamboat service
in May 1870. The New York, Providence, & Boston Railroad provided
connecting railroad service to Wickford.
These companies offered an alternative to Long Island steamer
travel. Passengers took a train from New York to Wickford. After
a short trip to Wickford Landing, they boarded a steamer for
the 75-minute ride to Newport. 
Travelers favored the shortcut
between Wickford and Newport. Steamboats took many of New York's "Four Hundred" to Newport, as well as other travelers. The steamboat Eolus, which operated until 1892, was popular, as was the General, which operated from 1893 to 1925. 
In 1888, a Jamestown "Dumplings" steamer was put in service to carry the growing number of summer visitors to and from the nearby island of Jamestown. In January 1898 the Providence, Fall River, and Newport Steamboat Company announced plans to run additional steamers between Newport and Narragansett Pier.