The inactive railroad property, located just north of Route 20, was leased to the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) by the MBTA in 2010, giving the DCR the right to construct, operate, and maintain a trail way. Eversource has an existing right-of-way access because of its power lines within the corridor. Weston does not own this land but does have Conservation Land and trails running along the state's property.
Eversource built an access road within the MBTA inactive railroad property and existing Eversource right-of-way, as seen in the Project Limits (PDF). The access road will allow for the safe operation and maintenance of the existing electric transmission facilities on the right-of-way. This work included removing the old rails and ties of the former Mass Central Rail line and creating a gravel drive.
Mass. DCR Involvement
DCR obtained funding to pave the Eversource gravel access road in order to create a 10-foot wide, multi-use recreational path as part of the planned Mass Central Rail Trail - Wayside, a proposed 23-mile multi-recreational path stretching from Berlin to Waltham.
During construction, Weston Town officials attended weekly site walks to ensure Weston's assets were protected. Historic assets were also flagged for protection, including three cattle passes.
Phase 1 - creating the trail
Contractors for Eversource and DCR have finished the bulk of Phase 1 work, as described above, in the fall of 2018. The path is paved from Wayland to Conant Road in Weston and from Church Street to the trestle bridge in Weston. A binder course of pavement was installed between Conant Road and Church Street. Additionally, fencing and DCR rail trail signage have been installed. A few areas have been identified as needing additional fencing, loaming and seeding. The erosion controls will also be removed.
Phase 2 - reopening the underpass
Construction started up again in the spring of 2019 as state construction crews reopened the underpass at Conant Road, which was completed in July. With the underpass reopened, the final pavement from Conant Road to Church Street will be installed and the rail trail parking areas at the spurs off Concord Road and Church Street will be finished. This area of the rail trail remains an active construction site, so please watch for signs and avoid the area during construction.
All work is anticipated to be completed in September and an grand opening celebration is being planned for October 19, 2019.
Rail Trail = State Rules
Weston's trails permit off-leash dog walking, per the Dog By-law, but the rail trail is state property and dog walkers MUST leash their pets (on a short lead) when approaching AND walking on the Mass Central Rail Trail.
Further, this is a multi-use recreational path, which means bicyclists, joggers, walkers, dogs, horseback riders, etc. need to share the trail.
- All users yield to horses
- Keep to the right to allow those moving faster to pass
- When passing, announce your approach and passing side (i.e. "On your left")
- Keep control of your dog - do not allow them to chase or jump at joggers/bicyclists
- Pick up and properly dispose of dog waste (in an offsite garbage bin)
Carry-in/carry-out rules apply, which means there are no garbage cans. Take your trash, including dog waste, with you.