• Souhegan Valley Rail Trail

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by b&m 1566
Over the past week or two, several local media outlets have written articles about a grass roots effort taking place, to build a rail trail along side or in place of the Hillsboro Branch, calling it the "Souhegan Valley Rail Trail". The idea seems to have been sparked by the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, in an effort to create and improve safe alternative modes of transportation with pedestrian and bicycling traffic. Since then, an official organization under the same name as the trail, has been formed and is spearheading the efforts; spreading the word and drumming up interest. Things appear to be very cordial right now but organizers are already pressuring the state to try buy the rail line from Pan Am/CSX, in an effort to gain more control of the property.
Although the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, would like to see more freight traffic moved on the Hillsboro Branch, it's inevitable there will be people on the opposite side of that spectrum.
  by artman
Interesting that they are recommending Rail with Trail from MBXX quarry in Wilton to their processing plant in Milford. This would isolate that railroad. Like the Hooterville Spur on Petticoat Junction
  by b&m 1566
It appears the terminal point for the rail trail will be downtown Wilton, near or at the station, I don't believe they plan to go any further. That's not to say there won't be a push to go west but that will probably involve, a yet to be envisioned rail-trail to Keene and or Bennington/ Hillsboro.
  by b&m 1566
I listened in on tonight's zoom meeting, to get an idea of where this committee was at and what their vision is going forward. In summary, they have a board of directors (5 to be exact), their main goal is to apt 4 more (volunteers) to the board to make a total of 9 members (preferably they would like one to be a lawyer and one to be an accountant). Once all their bylaws are completed and Souhegan Valley Rail Trail is incorporated, the directors will focus on becoming a 501c3 organization. They are hopeful the incorporation process will be completed in time for next months, zoom meeting. In the next week or two they will start the process of reaching out to CSX and start building up contacts and build a rapport with them. It's worth noting that apparently CSX, has a palatable record in dealing with rail trail advocacy groups, I guess they have a number of small branch lines that are shared corridors.
They have heard and acknowledge the pro-rail supporters and the concerns of ripping up the tracks, although they are far from the design phase, their main objective is a shared corridor, not the removal of rail. It was mentioned that detours may be required, where the rail and trail cannot fit side by side (bridges, wetlands, etc.).