The links listed here are just a sampling of the rail trail groups and resources available today.
MassDOT Biking and Walking Resource Statewide
Information is found at http://mass.gov/massdot/bike.
Of particular interest is the statewide Bicycle Facilities Interactive map found at http://services.massdot.state.ma.us/MapTemplate/BikeNetwork. It includes the ability to search, redline / comment, and share.
An introduction to how to use the map can be downloaded here (PPT, 9mb) or (PDF, 8.3MB)
Assabet River Rail Trail
ARRT was organized to promote the creation of a multi-use recreational trail through Marlborough, Hudson, Stow, Maynard and Action. The path goes along the abandoned rail bed of the former Marlborough Branch Rail Road. The ARRT sponsors clean-ups as well as bicycling, hiking and skiing activities along the proposed route. 5.8 miles of the trail are completed in Hudson and Marlborough of the planned 12 mile trail that will continue north through Stow, Maynard, with a northern terminus at the South Acton MBTA station. Note, while the ARRT and BFRT both go through Acton, there is no plan to connect the two trails here (a dream connection would be a rail-with-trail along the MBTA line between South Acton and West Concord ). The proposed Mass Central Rail Trail will connect the ARRT and the BFRT from Hudson ( Wilkins Street ) via Stow to Sudbury ( Union Street and Rte 20).
The Cochituate Rail Trail
The trail will extend 4 miles from the Village of Saxonville in Framingham to the commuter rail station in Natick Center. A connection with the Bruce Freeman Trail may be possible using the old Weston or Hultman aqueducts just north of Saxonville.
The Concord River Greenway
The Concord River Greenway will ultimately link to the northern terminus of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail at the Lowell / Chelmsford border and continue north through Lowell to and along the Concord River to the confluence of the Merrimack River. Construction of the northern portion of the Concord River Greenway has begun. See details at:
Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
The 11-mile bikeway between Bedford MA and Cambridge (Alewife). This is the country’s 500th, and second most traveled rail trail!
Nashua River Rail Trial
The Nashua River Rail Trial is a former right-of-way that travels 11 miles through the towns of Ayer, Groton, Pepperell, and Dunstable. The trail offers a 10-foot wide paved surface for the entire length, and a five-foot wide gravel equestrian path for seven miles of the trail from Groton Center to the New Hampshire border in Dunstable. The entire trail is open to pedestrians, bicyclists, inline skaters, wheelchairs, and cross-country skiers.
Needham Rail Trail Greenway
This proposed recreational path will make a healthful recreational option available to all residents and visitors. It will serve as a non-motorized shared-use path linking schools, the downtown, parks,and residential neighborhoods
Mass Central Rail Trail
An intrepid adventure traveler can still find traces of it in the wilderness. A 104 mile railroad line was shattered by hurricane in 1938. The line once stretched from downtown Boston to Northampton, MA. Now, over 60 years later, dedicated volunteers and property owners in 33 communities are working dig it out and open it up. Instead of trains there will be tourists and locals, Bed & Breakfast inns, cross-country skiers, bicyclists, hikers, joggers and babies in baby carriages.
The Squannacook River Rail Trail
Formed in the fall of 2002, the SRRT Committee has investigated the feasibility of establishing a 3.3 mile rail trail that will follow the Squannacook River, beginning at the Bertozzi Wildlife Management Area on Townsend Road in Groton, and ending at Depot Street in the center of Townsend. As envisioned, the SRRT will eventually connect to the 11-mile Nashua River Rail Trail and Ayer MBTA Commuter Rail Station.
Upper Charles River Trail
The Coastal Trails Coalition
The Coastal Trails Coalition (CTC) is a non-profit organization advocating for the Coastal Trails Network, a 30-mile public system of bicycle and pedestrian trails linking the communities of Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport and Salisbury.
Derry Rail Trail Alliance
The Derry Rail Trail Alliance was formed to see the Derry section of NH’s proposed Salem to Concord Bikeway Project (following the old Manchester and Lawrence Branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad) turned into a recreational trail for cyclists and pedestrians. As of summer 2009, the DRTA and Town of Derry have completed the construction and paving of approximately 3 miles of this trail and hope to have an additional 1.5 mile section completed in Spring 2010 linking the Derry trail to the 4+ Mile Windham Rail Trail (also a section of the Salem-Concord) providing a continuous 8+ mile paved recreational trail.
A non-profit organization creating a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people.
Friends of the Community Path
http://www.pathfriends.org/ covers all the trails, existing and proposed, inside Route 128.
Friends of Bedford Depot Park
This group is restoring the Bedford Depot Park at the end of the Minuteman Bikeway, including restoring a vintage Boston & Main Railroad Car #6211 for a display and museum. The group also researches and preserves history of the narrow gauge railroad lines in Billerica, Bedford and Lexington.
Bay Circuit Trail
This is an effort to make a permanent recreation trail and greenway corridor extending through 21 towns in Eastern Massachusetts and linking the park and open spaces surrounding metropolitan Boston.
The purpose of MassBike is to promote bicycles as a safe, healthy, enjoyable, efficient and environmentally sound means of transportation.
Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (MAPC)
Alternative transportation modes include bicycle and pedestrian transportation, ride sharing and other TDM services, and transit in under-served areas. MAPC provides technical support and research in conjunction with Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) efforts. http://www.mapc.org/transportation/transportation_alternatives.html
includes Draft Bike Plan http://www.mapc.org/transportation/trans_alternatives/Bike_plan_PDFs/Bike%20Plan_Draft%2010-5-06.pdf for which the MAPC is seeking comments and regional current and proposed trail map http://www.mapc.org/transportation/trans_alternatives/Bike_plan_PDFs/trailmapforweb11-05.pdf
Share The Trail Brochure (International Bicycle Fund)