Mass Central Rail Trail
With news of Eversource’s Access Road Project, the Board of Selectmen appointed the Rail Trail Advisory Committee to determine how best to accommodate the Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT) in Weston, as well as to ensure the protection of Weston's historic and conservation assets. Please note, the committee is not overseeing or partnering with Eversource and Mass. DCR, the responsible parties of the access road/rail trail. The Town committee's charge is explained on its committee web page and its work is separate from the Eversource and DCR project. Information on the access road project can be found on the "Construction" page.
The Rail Trail Advisory Committee has been busy in preparing for the state-owned recreational asset in Weston.
In working with the Recreation Department, members of the Committee secured state funds to assist in Weston’s planning portion of the MCRT, including landscape screening, parking, and signage. To date, $100,000 has been awarded through the state’s Recreational Trails Program, overseen by Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and a $57,279 matching grant from DCR’s Partnership Matching Fund Program. The grants will be used to offset the $510,000 in Community Preservation Act funds that have been previously approved by Town Meeting in 2017 and 2018.
Working with Weston's Department of Public Works, rail trail parking areas are nearly completed at the spurs along Concord Road and Church Street. Parking to access the rail trail will be at these two locations and Town House Road.
Signage, Landscaping, and Amenities
The Committee is developing signage and benches and working with a landscape architect to assist with landscape screening for affected abutters along the trail.
A non-profit group, Friends of the Legacy Rail Trail, is also being developed to assist with future funding and activities. A grand opening celebration is being planned for October 19, 2019.
Residents who are interested in the Committee's work are encouraged to follow the Rail Trail Advisory Committee by attending its open meetings. The meetings are posted to the Town's Meeting Calendar and residents can subscribe to receive email/text notifications of posted agendas.
The web page detailing construction progress has been updated for work occurring in 2019. Weston's portion of the MCRT is anticipated to be completed in September.
Mass Central Rail Trail: The Bigger Picture
The corridor of the old Mass Central Railroad line is 104 miles long, extending from Northampton, Mass. to Boston. Portions of the railroad corridor have been converted to rail trails, such as the Northampton Bike Path, the Norwottuck Rail Trail, and the rail trails near Rutland, Holden, Oakdale, and Clinton; however, there are some portions that are not developed or accessible. There are several parties across the state looking to connect the entire length.
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.