Rail Trail e-Newsletter January 2023 #73
Hello all,

First off, I have to offer up an apology for a glitch in last month's story about the tunnel in Clinton beginning to be looked at by the consultants hired by the town and the land trust. The glitch is fixed now. Enjoy the story.

Also here is a letter I was asked to write for the new Healey-Driscoll Administration's Transportation Transition Team. Only a two-pager, but I think you'll enjoy it. But I suppose the biggest news is the sale of the dead RR in Southampton, Mass. Only 25+ years in now, but it is done.

And the interesting thing is they didn't buy just the 2.5 miles as originally intended 25+ years ago. They bought 4.25 miles -- all the way to the Westfield line. This is the longest intestate trail in New England. Good info is always at: www.https://nhncg.org/ New Haven & Northampton Canal Greenway

Interestingly, the City of Framingham just had a ceremony last week to buy their dead RR too. Their 'gestation' period was almost as long as Southampton, but unfortunately, Framingham had to deal with CSX and pay over 20 times more than Southampton.

In the non-news category; the antis in Sudbury got another case at the Surface Transportation Board thrown out. That makes two cases thrown out in one year. Does the Guinness Book of World Records keep score at the STB?

Anyway, Happy New Year!


Craig Della Penna, Exec. Director
Norwottuck Network
62 Chestnut St. Northampton, MA 01062
413 575 2277 CraigDP413@gmail.com
In the GREEN area, we have news about the
Mass Central Rail Trail
and/or its connecting paths
Clinton trail development work is in process!
Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust is pleased to share that initial work has begun on the MCRT – Clinton Section. We have divided our project into two parts because the areas are so different and will be worked on by different crews. Top photo left shows Frannie Hodge of CGCT along with Tighe & Bond staffers and right shows the west portal of the 1,100+ foot tunnel. Read More.
I was asked to write a letter to the new administration's Transportation Transition Team. Only 2 pages, but very illuminating. Read more.
Feds Decline Sudbury Rail Line Case, Opponents Say They 'Can Prevail'
Neal McNamara, Patch Staff 12-13-22
SUDBURY, MA — For the second time in 2022, the Federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) denied a petition from a group of residents and business owners aligned under the Protect Sudbury group to declare the rail line as "abandoned." Such a ruling could help landowners adjacent to the line reclaim pieces of the land, according to Protect Sudbury. Read More.
Earlier this year, Friends of the Belchertown Greenway felt it was necessary to take a look at the old trestle bridge over the Jabish Brook on the MCRT there. They had a consultant who gave them a price of $4,000.

We, NN put up $2K if they could raise $2K. They did, and Fuss & O'Neill's Bridge section team was called-in to do the quick report about the condition. Read more.
Communities on the 
 on the MCRT and their websites

Did you know that many communities (or groups like land trusts) on the MCRT alignment are working on their section of the trail? 

Here's a link to a two-page infographic about the history of the MCRT

Here are links to websites where you can learn who the contact person is, when these groups meet, when hearings are being planned and how to sign up to get notices sent to you directly.
Belmont: Link here to the town appointed committee. 
Belmont: Link here to the Belmont Citizens Forum.
Belmont: Link here to the Friends of the Community Path Facebook group.
Somerville: Link here to the Friends of the Community Path Facebook group. 
Waltham: Link here to the Waltham Land Trust's site.
Walham: Link here to the Waltham Bike Committee.
Waltham: Link here to the City's page about the MCRT.
Weston: Link here to the town's page about the MCRT
Weston: Link here to the history of both the RR and the advocacy to create the trail. Over 25 years of advocacy. It is now open.
Wayland: Link here
Sudbury: Link here for the N-S intersecting trail--Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. 
Hudson: Link here for the NE-SW intersecting trail--Assabet River Rail Trail.
Berlin-Hudson: Link here to the new FaceBook group.
Berlin: Link here goes to the town's Rail Trail Committee. They also have a pretty nice website with pictures of the existing dead RR corridor along other maps and images of a future trail. Link here.
Wayside segment of the MCRT: Link here to a regularly updated history of DCR's efforts on building out this complicated trail.
Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust: Link here. updated info.
Clinton Tunnel: Link here to a story on WBZ Boston TV about the tunnel.
Wachusett Greenways: Link here.
Wachusett Greenways Facebook page with a link to their E-newsletter: Link here.
East Quabbin Land Trust: Link here
Palmer coming soon 
Ware: Link here to the Facebook group about this segment of the MCRT'. 
Belchertown: Link for the site for Friends of the Belchertown Greenway.
Amherst, Hadley on DCR's Norwottuck section of the MCRT: Link here.
Northampton area: Link here to the Friends of Northampton Trails website.
Northampton area: Link here to the Friends of Northampton Trails Facebook.
Here's DOT's Recent Feasibility study about how to piece together the middle sections of the MCRT.
In one fell swoop Maine DOT unveils a series of plans across their entire spectrum of realms. Read more
Rail trail running through Dutchess and Columbia Counties in eastern NY gets $375,000 grant
The state grant will pay for the planning of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail's next section. A non-profit group that The HVRT Association received a $375,000 state grant to plan the trail's next leg. Read more.
Both Congress and the Massachusetts State House
are getting more and more interested in Rail Trails
$3 Million earmarked for the BFRT's new Framingham segment
FRAMINGHAM – Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark has secured $3 million for the Chris Walsh Memorial Trail in the omnibus $1.7 trillion bill.

The funding would be used for the construction of the Phase 1 section of the Bruce Freeman Trail in Framingham. Read more.
Trails caucus to be re-launched in state Legislature
BOSTON — The Trails Caucus is being revived following a several year hiatus.
The caucus will focus on educating legislators and the public on the value of rail trails, advocate for legislation and policies that support trail creation and maintenance. Read more
6,000 days later: Framingham on track to buy corridor for rail trail
With P&S agreement signed, Framingham is on track to complete its section of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Lillian Eden Metro-West Daily News Read More

Above are Board of Directors for the Bruce Freeman Rail Trails at the ceremony. Ed Cross, Susan Haney, Emily Teller, Chris Menge, Barbara Pike and Judy Perrin. Thank you all for your tenacity to see this through. CDP
Framingham Mayor Finalizes Purchase Of 3.5 Miles For Freeman Rail Trail
Montana Samuels Patch Staff
Verified Patch Staff Badge
Posted Mon, Dec 5, 2022n

FRAMINGHAM, MA — Framingham and CSX have agreed to terms that will see 3.5 miles of the company's rail corridor transformed into part of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Read more
A couple of examples of communities on different parts of the "3 Stages of Truth" journey
Looks like some folks on Nantucket are entering the 2nd stage

While Southampton, Mass has now entered the 3rd stage of truth.
Who Doesn't Want A Bike Path On Wauwinet Road?
Wauwinet Property Owners
Jason Graziadei 12-20-22
Nantucket Current
More than 40 years after the town first marked Wauwinet Road as a possible site for a bicycle path, island planners are preparing to begin the formal design process for a “sidepath” dedicated for walking, bicycling and “other mobility needs including baby strollers and wheelchairs.

But the town discovered this week that there’s a group very much opposed to the construction of the new sidepath: a group of Wauwinet property owners.  Read more

Southampton was the only town to vote down the idea of a rail trail on the 84 mile long trail from New Haven to Northampton.
16 towns--Yay.
1 town-- Nay.

That was in 1996. Above is the actual new deed showing town ownership. Read more to see how the trail idea was resurrected and other interesting details of the past 26+ years.
The big news in this issue is that Southampton has purchased their dead RR
By Emily Thurlow Staff Writer Daily Hampshire Gazette 1-2-23
SOUTHAMPTON — After a 20-year pursuit, the town purchased a right-of-way from Pioneer Valley Railroad Co. for $340,000 for use as a rail trail. Read more
Westfield rail trail’s downtown extension on track for spring opening Dec. 15, 2022, Peter Currier The Westfield News pcurrier@thereminder.com
WESTFIELD — State officials have said that the downtown Westfield portion of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail is expected to be completed next spring after the completion of work on the Elm Street bridge.
3 new segments of VT's Lamoille Valley Rail Trail open By Shaun Robinson Dec 15 2022 VT Digger
Three more sections of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail opened for public use Thursday, the Vermont Agency of Transportation said, bringing the 93-mile recreation path across northern Vermont close to completion almost a decade after construction began. Read more
Interesting, "High-Altitude" Stories From Around the Country and Sometimes Beyond.
Ladies and gentleman, buckle your seat belts.
We are going up in altitude.
Do you remember that 'to-do' in Sudbury where neighbors were/are fighting the idea of having the grid put underground? Under the dead Mass Central corridor there? Well, there will be more projects to bury the grid. Lots more.
Here's a story from a National Trade Magazine for the electrical utility industry talking about a need to put a lot of the grid underground. Read more
Here's a story about Eversource installing electric cables under the Shining Sea Trail in Falmouth this winter. We'll be seeing more and more of this on trails all over the region. Read more

The new Norwottuck Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation specifically set up to help get the longest rail trail in New England--the Mass Central Rail Trail --built-out, operational and notable.
We can help do that by making small, mini-grants available to local groups and communities that will bring restore/renovate/replace historic mile-markers on the corridor. Or help fund kiosks that will call out forgotten railroad or industrial history of that locale.
We will want to work with the state park agency Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) on standardized kiosk designs.
We will keep you all posted as to developments as we go. We have made it easy to DONATE through the Network for Good.
Here's Podcasts I've been on.
Amazingly, Constant Contact alerted us that this newsletter is in the top 10% of all of Constant Contact's newsletters, worldwide, in terms of readership engagement.
Imagine that!