• Newburyport Branch

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

  by Ed Canney
A recent article in the Wakefield Daily Item said that the Wakefield Board of Selectmen pledged their support for a bike trail on the branch from Wakefield Junction to the Reedy Meadow near the Lynnfield line. Reedy Meadow is just past where the tracks go under route 128 in Wakefield. The line is owned by the MBTA and Guilford Transportation has been leasing it, but notified the Town of Wakefield in 2003 that it was planning to abandon the line. The Town wrote to the MBTA in 2003 that it was interested in obtaining rights to the line for possible development (bike trail and yes even a road for cars), but as usual Guilford and the MBTA apparently have been slow to respond to the Town. A state rep from Melrose said he would support the plan and would extend the help of his office but that the Selectmen need to express publicly that there is a plan to develop the line. The line was last used by Guilford in April of 2001, but is still actively used by MBTA construction crews in the Junction area.

  by CSX Conductor
The MBTA would probably prefer to keep the track for M&W storage. :wink:

  by Rockingham Racer
I thought this was (is?) called the Danvers Branch, no?

  by doublebell
No. This branch originally ran from Wakefield to Newburyport by way of Danvers, Topsfield, Georgetown.

John (the guy in the white car)
  by Ed Canney
Here is a link to the most recent article in the Wakefield Observer newspaper about the proposed bike path on the line: http://www2.townonline.com/wakefield/ [/url] Talk about this idea began when Guilford cut back operations from Danvers to Wakefield in 1998. I think it could happen as there are not many homes located next to the line between the Junction and route 128, so oposition to the path may be minimal.
  by Ed Canney
Since my last post on the subject of a bike path on the Newburyport Branch out of Wakefield, a committee has been formed and is working with the Wakefield Selectmen. A recent article in the Wakefield Observer indicates that an attorney has been hired to help in environmental concerns along the right-away. The following article was from the Wakefield Observer Newspaper, 12/23/04

Rail Trail Moves Forward
By Lisa Guerriero/ [email protected]
Thursday, December 23, 2004

The town will hire an attorney to handle environmental issues that could arise as Wakefield and Lynnfield develop a rail-trail plan.

Selectmen voted recently to retain Steve Anderson of Anderson & Krieger LLP, who will represent both towns as they lease an old MBTA right-of-way to create a pedestrian trail.

Selectman Al Turco, who attends rail-to-trail meetings, said environmental issues will likely confront trail planners, and they could be costly. "It doesn't have to be Mr. Anderson, but we need eminent environmental counsel to proceed," said Turco before the board voted 6-1 to retain Anderson.

The 99-year lease provided to the towns by the MBTA allows for no environmental testing before the deal is sealed, but it says any "onerous" environmental work would be done by the MBTA.

Turco said there is "quite possibly" environmental contamination along the 150-year-old trail, which stretches from Wakefield through Lynnfield's Reedy Meadow and stops at the Peabody line.

The trail would follow a freight line that begins at "The Junction" near Main Street and North Avenue and run northeast into Lynnfield.

It would be a place for residents to walk, skate and bicycle.

Anderson, who has done work for Wakefield in the past, is now representing the town of Acton in a rail-to-trail negotiation, and has helped officials there draft protections for both the town and the MBTA.

Retaining Anderson should cost an estimated $5,000 to $10,000 per town.

Town Administrator Thomas Butler said he expects to pay the fees through the town's legal counsel budget. If the budget runs out because of various legal costs, Butler would ask the Finance Committee to approve spending reserve cash.

John Gallucci was the only selectman to oppose the decision, saying Town Meeting should be able to weigh in on tapping reserve funds.

"I can't support that," Gallucci said.
  by asdfjkl
too bad, now it sounds like that branch is really dead, rail trail or not. i always thought it would be nice to reactivate it all the way to rte1 in peabody, it is so close to the danvers and peabody transfer stations you could originate a trash train there. keep a lot of trucks off the road!
  by Ed Canney
On Arpil 21, 2005 a public presentation on rails-to-trails conversion of abandoned railroad tracks that run from Wakefield to Lynnfield through Reedy Meadow was held at the Old Lynnfield Meeting House on the Lynnfield Commons. Nationally known speaker Craig Della Penna discussed what it will take to build such a trail, how long it will take, and the cost:

http://www2.townonline.com/wakefield/lo ... 30&format=

  by consist
I don't know how Reedy Meadow could support trains OR a bike trail at this point. It's under water every spring, sometimes over the top of the rails. They'll need a wooden elevated footbridge for at least a quarter mile under there.

  by l008com
This is very strange. I was in Peabody today, near the lynnfield line, right near this branch. And I heard train whistles. It was off in the distance a ways, but I have no idea where it was coming from. I can't imagine I coudl have been hearing a whistle all the way from wakefield. Thats impossible?

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Winona+St ... 72863&om=1
I was about an inch to the left of the arrow in the map above. By my estimation, that 5 miles from the mainline in reading and 5 miles from the mainline in salem. I know both ends of this branch are dead, is the connector through danvers still alive maybe? It was very strange when I heard it, because I know as of earlier this week, weather its "in service" or not, I know there are tons of track pieces stacked on the track in wakefield blocking the way. Any thoughts?

  by FatNoah
Could it have been a train servicing Eastman Gelatine?
  by Ed Canney
Your location that early morning was aprox 4 miles northeast of Wakefield and you may have heard the commuter rail train leaving Wakefield heading north to Reading (scheduled time 12:22am). The wind was reported to be from the southwest at midnight and the sound of the horn may have carried to your location.

Speaking of the branch, it was reported in the 8/17/06 Wakefield Observer that The town of Wakefeild received a $30,000 feasibility grant for the Rails-to-Trails program. Selectman Turco said new pedestrian trails will replace an abandoned MBTA rail line from the intersection of Main Street and Nahant Street in Wakefield through Reedy Meadow in Lynnfield.

Turco said there was a great deal of town support for the project and that the trail would be "a great amenity to the town of Wakefield."
Learning from the past:

It's funny years ago the rail structure was put in place and with the independance of automobiles we let them fall to the way side.

But even worst then that, now a days when we hear of an old line (that might have still had a need or chance to come alive again) it's faced with the possibility of being turned into a walking path forever.

It's too bad ALL railroad lines were not placed under protection as National Historic pieces of US built history and slowly ALL put back in to use through federal funding vs. being torn up.

In many cities and towns a company or person can't even put up a sign on their own property without approval of the local historic commission, yet we let them tear up true history right through the center of town?

The tracks were put in place years ago and we just might be looking to have them back someday, because once they are gone, they are gone forever. Where is the historic commission on this one?