That train don't run by here no more

Abandoned train bridge over Rte. 128 in Waltham

A number of train bridges cross Rte. 128, but as Chris Rich shows us in Waltham, not all are in use. This bridge is part of the Wayside Trail, which could one day become a pedestrian and bicycle path along the right of way of a long unused train line between Boston and Northampton.

Also see Rich's other photos from along the abandoned line.

Copyright Chris Rich. Posted in the Universal Hub pool on Flickr.


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Thanks Adam.

I wanted to load a simple set of the basic path differences between Somerville and Sudbury.

The part between Cedar st in Somerville and the Fitchburg Path end in Belmont is done.

Waltham seems to be scouted and getting ready.

Weston is still obstructing to a degree but my look at it tells me it is a beloved local vernacular trail as it is for horses and joggers with a few bikes.

They want to keep it to themselves, thus far. Wayland and Sudbury, by contrast, want this thing very much.

It is an 80 foot wide right of way, huge compared with the Minuteman with great open space parcels all along the way and strange antique rail relics like cattle culverts from when Weston had a sheep and dairy scene..

The DOT handed down a ruling in March that waived the pavement requirement in favor of a transition option. That was a limiting aspect because a paved surface is significantly more expensive than rock dust.

It is gloriously porous. By this I mean there are portals to the regular street grid at regular intervals.

This would probably get many more bicycles into their own system between 128 and down town and may well be fairly popular in the outer section as I observed a lot of recreational road biking there and in Dover, which is cock blocking another killer rail bikeway that runs between Needham and Medfield.

But Dover also has a lot of wealthy road bikers and they too want the rail trail, if for no other reason than the narrow farm road system in Dover is horrific given its growth and traffic loads.

Someone supposedly ponied up 50 grand out of their own pocket in Dover to cover a study fee after the town sand bagged it.

Another thing I've noticed is that, unlike most masshole public works projects, these rail trail build outs can happen pretty fast. So fast, in fact, that the key advocacy things here like Mass Bike are out of date because they haven't updated since 2012.

That's only two years and in normal public works time frames it wouldn't matter, but these things are really rolling.

I'm realizing that getting the word out about alternate bike route work may well be the most useful free public stuff I do until someone builds a better web trap and skillfully integrates the data and content avalanche.

And regulars here can use the information, even the ones I bicker with, to improve their experience. Urban Explorers can don their pith helmets and go on great weekend expeditions and so on.

Sally can find cool places to walk her dog, etc.


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Any time.

I get immense satisfaction when some item works for peers.

And I figure I need to counter my carping with useful things now and then.

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Beautiful photos!

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I hope this happens, it would be a great asset to those communities and the region.

Thanks for the photos and update.

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It's underway.

Weston will eventually fold. I plan to see how the Sudbury/Wayland parts are doing soon.

The Beaver Brook section in Waltham along the Belmont border is the wildest and is true urban bushwhacking.

Here is an existing greenway system for the Mystic River Watershed.

I'm seeing a number of these spokes take shape and plan to check one that goes from West Lynn to Malden fairly soon.

It has a really strange route path as it is fairly early, like 1840s maybe early 1850s and is a striking departure from the typical straight line sets that became a norm later..

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Lynn line to Everett

The path you're referring to from "Lynn to Malden" (Northern Strand Trail / Saugus Branch) doesn't quite reach Lynn, since the mayor is against it for absurd reasons. The grading and stone dust ends abruptly in Saugus, just before Lynn. Also, it runs beyond Malden at the other end, all the way down to MA-16 in Everett.

I'd recommend waiting a couple months to check it out. It is currently a very, very muddy mess in the brief Revere stretch (which I live near). It is supposed to be finished before autumn arrives. Unless, of course, you don't mind mud. In that case, do it ASAP, as the Rumney Marsh in that Revere stretch is beautiful right now. Very green and lush. The rest of the trail is essentially complete, so its just that one beautiful, but under construction, section.

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Thanks UrbEx.

I studied it elaborately on guggle maps over the past two days and came up with a similar conclusion.

There is pretty good material already in You Tube for the completed parts. I usually go for stuff without material.

And the little Revere bit is in progress so I'll let it be.

I checked the Everett end too. Looks like a a gravel operation is stowing and stockpiling material right were the Parkway passes over the rail line just east of Wellington Station.

The Lynn Segment looks fascinating and I'll probably just cover that to help call attention to it. That's another aim.

And the railroad fans love that stuff anyway.

These things are more likely to grow legs if people have compelling stuff available about them.

I was burning to do something today. Swampscott isn't quite right, Too early for shorebird return migration, (Later in the week).

So I took the 70 bus to Watertown and got the 59 from there to Needham to check High Rock Town Forest and was it ever worth it.

I got to see the Bay Colony Rail Line again, nothing going on yet there. I spoke with a Needham cop and he agreed it would be great to have dedicated passages for non motor stuff to get some of it off the streets

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Oh, Weston

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Weston: where people from Beacon Hill move when the tactile strips and concrete curbs drive them so bonkers they can't take the city anymore, so they move to Weston and then they can bitch about having a manicured path in place of an overgrown old railroad track, because "other" people.

FOAD, Weston.

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Hahaha and where someone lives in a depot.

I wonder who got this rental deal

It's a stunning bit of relic Americana and you get a fat parking lot.

Someone is living in the active Kendall Green stop station too.

Must be some DOT nepotism thing.

Dover is having comparable conniptions in remarkably similar situations only their dead rail line is much narrower..

The Needham part should be done before long. You'll be able to go from the Needham Junction station to the edge of the Charles at the stunning Charles River Peninsula Reservation owned by the Trustees of Reservations.

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I'm all about this...

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A pedestrian/bike path using abandoned rail lines is the only way to go. It has to happen.

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There is a fascinating ghost network

of lines from the manufacturing era heyday.

The DOT has owned most of them forever as the railroads folded in the bankruptcy outbreak of the 70s.

It has just never been able to make its mind up and hedged against the possibility of rail return.

Now it has arrived at a nice game plan that telescopes and still leaves room for rail restoration if that ever happens.

The rock dust phase is a test and if the thing gets really popular then it gets paved. They are trying to be sensible.

And the participating communities are allowed to use the proceeds from the pulled rail to defray from costs or even finance the work.

Rail grade steel is fairly valuable and there is quite a lot of it.

There may also be EPA capping issues and I have seen core sample diggings in some places like Needham but the freight element of that line lasted into the 80s or so.

The Central Mass Line commuter rail run to Hudson and Sudbury ended in like 71 or so so its toxin load may have leached away long ago.

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