Archive | Area Trails

Abandoned Lawrence and Manchester Railroad Corridor

This video shows the Rail Corridor for the most part BEFORE development of the Salem and Methuen Sections with some glimpses of the completed northern sections.

This video is about the Lawrence and Manchester Railroad. The Manchester and Lawrence Railroad was a railroad company that was chartered in New Hampshire by businessmen from Manchester, to build a rail line from that city to the Massachusetts state line. The Manchester and Lawrence was chartered in 1847 and opened in November 1849. It leased the newly built Methuen Branch from the Boston and Maine Railroad, which opened in August 1849 and ran from South Lawrence through Methuen to the state line where the two lines met. Methuen Train Depot. The B&M tried to lease the M&L, but the company leased itself to the Concord Railroad in 1850. This still helped the B&M as the railroad opened up a second Manchester to Boston route that helped the B&M compete with the combined Nashua and Lowell and Boston and Lowell Railroads. By 1887, the contract was terminated, and the B&M gained control of the line. In the 20th century, the line was relegated to local freight. Passenger service on the line dropped to one round trip per day until 1953 when regular passenger service ended. Special summer trains ran to Rockingham Park in Salem for the horse races until 1960 when that service stopped. Guilford switcher on the M&L in Salem, New Hampshire, circa 1993. Despite rapid growth in Rockingham County in the 1970s, rail traffic declined. In 1984, Guilford abandoned the line between Salem and Londonderry, and three years later the line in Londonderry to Manchester Airport was abandoned, leaving the line split in two. Service from Manchester down to the airport continued until the mid 1980s when the Manchester segment was taken out of service and freight service between Manchester and the airport had ended. Freight ran from Lawrence through Methuen up to the Salem depot until December 1993. Service from Lawrence to the Rockingham Racetrack run-around sidings continued until March 1999, and all service past the Lawrence/Methuen line ended in June 2001. Today, a small stretch in Lawrence is used as a short freight line that services a customer about once a month. The portion of the line in Massachusetts (Lawrence and Methuen) is currently owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) The abandoned roadbed currently serves as a rail trail in Londonderry, Derry and Windham. As of June 2012, 2.5 miles of track remains in place in Salem.


Salem Bike Ped Corridor

If any MRTA members can make it to this meeting
Dave’s group needs our support.
Salem Board of Selectmen’s meeting this coming Monday, October 1, 7:00 pm, at the Salem Town Hall, 33 Geremonty Drive
the sooner they get Iron Horse here, the sooner they will fix what’s wrong with our trail.

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Friends of Salem Bike-Ped Corridor welcome Iron Horse Preservation Society to town


After years of discussion, planning, paperwork, and meetings, we are at the final approval stage for the Iron Horse Preservation Society (IHPS) to start construction of the Salem Bike-Ped Corridor. You are cordially invited to learn more details about the project and implementation plans at the Salem Board of Selectmen’s meeting this coming Monday, October 1, 7:00 pm, at the Salem Town Hall, 33 Geremonty Drive. Your presence, and with a chance to speak in favor of the project, will help us win the final approval vote for the Town of Salem to sign the contract with IHPS so work can start next week.

The Friends of Salem Bike-Ped Corridor (FSBPC) have been working closely with NH-DOT, the Town of Salem, and IHPS for the past 2.5 years. The FSBPC presentation scheduled for Monday evening will conclude with a $25,000.00 donation to the Town of Salem for initial bike-ped corridor expenses not included in the basic construction work done for free by IHPS. The FSBPC has plans to obtain additional funding from private and corporate donors. No money is to come from Salem taxpayers or the State of NH.

A guest speaker at the Monday meeting will be Joe Hattrup, IHPS Chief Operating Officer / General Manager. Joe is highly involved in all IHPS projects including those just now being completed in Massachusetts. The work planned in Salem is a “first” in New Hampshire and should set a precedent for similar projects in other areas of the state. For more info about IHPS, visit their web site at

Please come, see, hear, and offer your support for the Salem Bike-Ped Corridor project this Monday, October 1, 7:00 pm at the Salem Town Hall. A good representation of supporters will mean a lot as the press and general public will be waiting and watching to see what happens next.

Take care, and I hope to see you Monday evening!

Dave Topham, Co-Chair
Friends of Salem Bike-Ped Corridor


11th Annual Spicket River cleanup Sat Sept 22nd

11th Annual Spicket River cleanup Saturday Sept 22nd, 2012 8am – 1pm

Come help clean the Spicket River in Lawrence and Methuen

Volunteers will assemble at 8 a.m. at Manchester Street Park, 75 Manchester St., Lawrence: where tools, trash bags and gloves provided.

A free lunch will be provided after the event ends at 1 p.m. at Manchester Street Park.


METHUEN – This will mark the Eleventh year that Groundwork has held their annual Spicket River Cleanup in Lawrence and the Second year that Methuen has participated in the event. Last year ten Methuen residents including members of the Methuen Rail Trail Alliance, the Methuen Trails Committee and folks from Methuen’s Memorial Music Hall converged on the section of the river in downtown Methuen. Riverwalk Park on Osgood St. and the Broadway area behind the Music Hall were targetted and over 700 pounds of debris was removed by hand from the river, including televisions, barrels and tires. This year with a larger turnout, we can also target other sections of the river.

Join us Saturday September 22nd at the Manchester St Park in Lawrence…just past the end of the Methuen Rail Trail; where we will meet up, count heads, distribute trash bags and gloves, then we can head back to the river and make a difference. Afterward Groundwork provides a free lunch for all the volunteers – and you better get their early because Lawrence turns out hundreds of volunteers to work on the Spicket River Cleanup.

For more information, contact
Methuen – Joyce Godsey Methuen Trails Committee 978-918-6031 /


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