Eastern CM bike trail infrastructure removal

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NRGeep
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Eastern CM bike trail infrastructure removal

Post by NRGeep » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:49 pm

Looks like it will be a reality in Eastern Mass connecting to already existing bike trail to Northampton in central Mass.
Seems the rickety trestle in Waltham near highway bridge is likely beyond repair. Any other ROW structures beyond rail removal that will be purged?
And rush hour bottlenecks on rt 20 continues... :(

trainsinmaine
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Re: Eastern CM bike trail infrastructure removal

Post by trainsinmaine » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:07 pm

There will have to be a fair amount of rerouting to get around places where there usedto be bridges --- Clinton, most notably, but also in communities such as West Berlin, Holden, Jefferson, and Bondsville. Gonna be interesting.

TomNelligan
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Re: Eastern CM bike trail infrastructure removal

Post by TomNelligan » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:16 pm

I would guess that any bridges still in place, like the one over Linden Street in Waltham (and the wood pile trestle just west of it), will remain unless they've been unusually damaged by corrosion or other mishaps. They were built to carry trains, and the weight of cyclists is a rounding error, even after 30 years of disuse. Note that the multi-span Connecticut River trestle on the other end of the line at Northampton that couldn't handle locomotives heavier than an SW1 at the end of rail service was reused for the bike trail with just the addition of a deck and safely rails. They built to last back then.

jbvb
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Re: Eastern CM bike trail infrastructure removal

Post by jbvb » Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:58 pm

I've been told that the Northampton bridge's weight limit was because the original plans were lost somewhere between construction and WWI-ish. So not knowing what it was built to carry, or exactly how it was built, they specified a very conservative rating.

Engineer Spike
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Re: Eastern CM bike trail infrastructure removal

Post by Engineer Spike » Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:47 pm

Even if the plans were lost, a good engineer could do an assessment of it. He could put a limit on what could be handled. More to the point, how much of the right of way still exists as a right of way? Mainly what did B&M do with the property after service was abandoned? The central part of the line has been abandoned since the 1930s.

csor2010
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Re: Eastern CM bike trail infrastructure removal

Post by csor2010 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:08 pm

Found this link a while back covering all of bridges in the Waltham-Berlin segment:
https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/20 ... s-rev1.pdf

It appears that the only structures likely to be removed are the timber-pile trestles; the preferred option for the steel structures is listed as rehabilitation.

b&m 1566
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Re: Eastern CM bike trail infrastructure removal

Post by b&m 1566 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:17 pm

Engineer Spike wrote:Even if the plans were lost, a good engineer could do an assessment of it. He could put a limit on what could be handled. More to the point, how much of the right of way still exists as a right of way? Mainly what did B&M do with the property after service was abandoned? The central part of the line has been abandoned since the 1930s.
Did the B&M own the land outright or was it an easement?

jbvb
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Re: Eastern CM bike trail infrastructure removal

Post by jbvb » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:17 pm

AFAIK, RRs in New England owned all or at least most RR rights-of-way in fee simple. I haven't been watching the details, but with the Registries of Deeds on-line, you could probably watch the RoW re-establishment process in more-or-less real time. Given when the middle part of the CM was abandoned, I expect that anything that wasn't bought by abutters or power/pipeline companies passed to the municipalities for back taxes. Also, most municipal tax maps have been based on state GIS data for a decade or more, so they often show contours at a level of detail which would reveal remnant cuts & fills. And someone with the right access and skills might be able to create an overlay showing filled/removed portions.

b&m 1566
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Re: Eastern CM bike trail infrastructure removal

Post by b&m 1566 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:40 am

I thought railroads were exempt from taxes, is that not the same for Massachusetts? They are in New Hampshire and Vermont, as pointed out in the Twin State Railroad Thread.

jbvb
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Re: Eastern CM bike trail infrastructure removal

Post by jbvb » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:01 am

RRs are private companies, so when they owned the RoW, they paid property tax on the land and structures like bridges, stations etc. As RRs declined post-WWI, they disposed of unused RoWs. In the 1970s, many states started to buy RoWs as they were abandoned, considering they would be very hard to re-establish as NIMBY-ism got a voice in law. Most of the Twin State sadness has its roots in NH and VT buying the RoW that Guilford abandoned, then signing ill-considered contracts with an operator they hoped would benefit the area's economy. State-owned, so no property tax.

The Central Mass to South Sudbury was bought from the B&M by the Commonwealth in the 1977 transaction IIRC. The Amherst and Ware River remnants were picked up from Guilford later, but I don't know dates. I assume the CM RoW that paralleled the CV and B&A that was replaced by trackage rights in the 1930s mostly went into private ownership. The CM in between is going to keep lawyers busy for a while, and may have parts whose current owners won't give up. This is why Salisbury's 'Ghost Trail' and Amesbury's rail trail don't connect: one landowner on Elm St. bought a piece from the B&M in the '70s. The Newburyport City Railroad trail was also blocked for years by a landowner on High St. by March's Hill who'd bought the bit of RoW next to a house.

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