Abandoned Rail Line

Eversource is preparing to conduct major work on its Access Road Improvement Project, which is located within the MBTA abandoned railroad property and existing Eversource right-of-way just north of Route 20. This work will include removing the old rails and ties of the former Mass Central Rail line and creating a 16’ wide gravel drive to allow access for its maintenance of the existing electric transmission structures.

Wayside Trail

The Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has filed a funding request with the state to pave the Eversource gravel access road in order to create a 10-foot wide multi-use greenway as the MassCentral Rail Trail (the Wayside Trail). DCR has joined Eversource in the wetlands permit application. Due to this project change, Weston abutters were re-notified to provide updated and transparent information to the public. See further below for additional information on the rail trail in Weston.

The abandoned railroad property is leased to the DCR by the MBTA and Eversource has a right of way access, as well.  

Wetlands Public Hearings

In June (2017), the Conservation Commission concluded its wetlands permit hearings and issued the permit authorizing Eversource and the DCR to construct a paved maintenance road/rail trail along the 3-mile right-of-way through Weston. 

The scope of issues that the Conservation Commission considered in reviewing proposed projects is defined by the Wetlands Protection Act. The Conservation Commission has created “An Abutter's Guide to the Conservation Commission Permitting Process,” which is available online.

Notice of Intent and Site Plans

The plans and information submitted to the Conservation Commission by Eversource and the DCR can be found below: 

What Does this Mean for Weston?

Rail Trail Advisory Committee

The process of converting the abandoned Mass Central Rail Line, which covers a 3-mile section of Weston, to a rail trail has been gaining momentum since 2011 when the MBTA signed a 99-year lease with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) giving it jurisdiction over the abandoned rail line. The rail line extends 23 miles from Berlin to Waltham is known as the Wayside Corridor. With news of Eversource’s project, the Board of Selectmen appointed the Rail Trail Advisory Committee to study a potential rail trail in Weston.

The committee has been studying the area and its history. An engineering study for the Conant Road underpass was initiated, and a planning firm to help with parking and access issues has been retained. The committee is monitoring the access road project and is in contact with the DCR regarding its funding and plans. 

Please note, the committee is not overseeing or partnering with Eversource and DCR. Its charge is explained on its committee web page and its work is separate from the Eversource and DCR project; however, residents who are interested in how Weston will accommodate the Wayside Trail, are encouraged to follow the Rail Trail Advisory Committee and can subscribe to receive meeting agenda and minute notifications

Moving Forward

The Rail Trail Advisory Committee is actively meeting to discuss Weston's use of the trail and how to address the Conant Road bridge obstruction and the trestle bridge near the Waltham border, as well as the recent news of the DCR's funding request and how to accommodate this development. 

There will be much public outreach during the committee's continued exploration. In addition to subscribing for meeting agenda/minute notifications, interested residents can also subscribe to receive Latest Town News and the monthly newsletter for ongoing developments.