Archive | MRTA Notices

Construction Update

Despite intermittent weather and freezing and refreezing of the ground, the day has come when the last of the rail road ties has been pulled up intact and bundled. The bundles of ties will soon be trucked down to a licensed facility to be burnt as fuel.

Looking north from the Lawrence line, one can see that the trail will be straight and clear. And to the East it has great visibility over the Spicket River and the city of Lawrence.

The next step is to deck the footbridge over the Spicket River and begin paving the rail trail section that runs through the conservation area up to the NH State Line. This will start first thing next week. Compared to the tedious job of pulling and bundling ties, laying down recycled asphalt will be a breeze.

Joe Hattrup from Iron Horse Preservation paid a call on Brad Bruschur from Groundwork Lawrence to give his estimate for continuing IHP’s work along the the M&L Branch inside Lawrence.
Here, the railroad siding splits off from the main line at the Manchester St. Bridge and continues down a grade to join with the end of the Spicket River Greenway at the railroad bridge over the Spicket behind the Polartec Factory Parking lot.

This part of the line hasn’t been used in a very long time and is covered with small trees and trash. Groundwork has started the paperwork process to allow Iron Horse to continue the
‘no cost’ construction job to connect these two projects in a seamless recreational area. The sooner that paperwork goes through the sooner the brush and ties will get cleared and the asphalt can go down.

On the North side of the Methuen Rail Trail project, Salem NH and NH DOT have finalized their paperwork problems allowing them to engage Iron Horse Preservation to continue their non profit construction across the state line and into Salem NH 1.8 miles from the border (Cluff Crossing Rd and Shaws Supermarket) and again further north connecting Salem’s Main St (Rt 97) to Old Depot Rd (MacKinnon’s area) about 1 mile. The undeveloped sections of the Salem Bike Bed Corridor are serviced by sidewalks and pedestrian traffic controls, which will allow easy if not seamless access by the pedestrian or cyclist to all sections of Rt 28 and points north (Windham NH et al.)

Hopefully by years end Iron Horse Preservation will have done great work connecting these three communities along the Spicket River and paralleling Rt 28 allowing for many many people to enjoy biking and walking safely.

Joyce Godsey
Methuen Rail Trail Alliance


New Year’s Day FIRST WALK on the Methuen Rail Trail

You’re invited. Come one, come all. If you didn’t make it to First Night, you can still start the New Year off on the right foot by joining us for ‘FIRST WALK’ on the ever developing Methuen Rail Trail. You can begin your New Years resolution to take better care of yourself or to get more exercise by meeting us on Sunday, New Years Day at noon behind IHOP at the N.H. end of our Methuen Rail Trail. The sun is supposed to shine, but dress in layers anyway, and if you like, add a hat and mittens. The ground could be muddy so wear appropriate footgear.

Looking forward to seeing you there.


Terrific Success on Cleanup Day!

We pulled a great deal of trash from the section south of Pine St and north of Five Corners bridge. No matter how much we clean there still seems to be illegal dumping in this area, no doubt due to its complete lack of sightlines. It’s an area in the downtown which is completely out of direct view of nearly everyone. With the construction of the Rail Trail this area will remain cleaner in future. Thanks to everyone who showed up.


MRTA upcoming Event Schedule


Sat April 16th – 10-12am : Information Table – at Healthy Kids Day
Location Methuen YMCA

Sat Apr 23, 2011 8am – 9am Rail Trail Cleanup
Location: The Corner of Union and Railroad St

Sat May 7, 201 1 8am – 9am Rail Trail Cleanup
Location: the End of Pine St

Sat May 7, 2011 9a m – 12am Methuen Clean Up Day
Location: Methuen.

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011, 7pm – 9pm – Methuen Rail Trail Alliance Meeting
Locaion: the Nevins LIbrary

Sunday, May 15th, 2011,  1pm – 5pm Salem Farmer’s Market – Shared Information Table with Salem Bike-Ped Corridor
Location: Lake Street Garden Center


Methuen leases the rail trail land.

You heard it here first – the MBTA votes to lease the abandoned right of way to the city of Methuen for 99 years.

Thank you to all who helped and supported this effort!
We have a lot more work ahead! please come to the March 8th meeting!

MBTA Agenda item
• Authorization to enter into a Ninety-Nine (99) Year Long Term Lease Agreement with the City of Methuen, the Town of Saugus and the City of Lynn for nominal consideration for the portion of abandoned Manchester and Lawrence Branch Railroad Right of Way in Methuen, Massachusetts consisting of approximately 2 miles, a portion of the abandoned Saugus Branch Right of Way in Saugus consisting of approximately 2.4 miles and a portion of the abandoned Saugus Branch Right of Way in Lynn consisting of approximately 1.8 miles for use as an Alternative Transportation Corridor, a.k.a. Bike Path


Sunday 11/7 Walk in Newburyport 11:00AM

Sunday we have a walk on Newburyport’s Clipper City Rail Trail scheduled for all those who want to come check it out.
The rail bed there was very similar to what Methuen has now, with regards to elevation and bridges.
So it will be good to check out how they have dealt with access and signage and so forth.

Apparently the Amtrak Parking Lot at the head of the trail isn’t the “official” parking and they just made it illegal to park on the street nearest the trail head.

I have arranged for us to park in the parking lot at BLUMBERG AND COMPANY 75 PARKER ST which is about 2 blocks from the trail head.
here is the link to the Google map

The Newburyport trail is only 1.1 miles, so if it’s nice enough and folks want to we can cross the river on the Rt1 Bridge and walk the Eastern Marsh Trail i in Salisbury which is 1.4 miles.

Holler is you are coming and we can get some carpooling going!


The Big Sit, October 10th – anyone interested?

The Big Sit is an annual birdwatching event, where birdwatching teams stake out a 17 foot circle for 24 hours and inventory all the birds they can see from within that circle. In Birdwatching circles this is usually a casually competitive fundraising event.

I realize we don’t have many expert birdwatchers who would be interested in doing this kind of thing THIS year in the Wildlife Sanctuary, however if a couple of people would like to join me I think it would be fun to ‘test drive’ the idea for the future. Get an idea of what we will need to do to pull it off for NEXT year when I am hoping the Rail Trail and the Sanctuary Trails will be open.

Perhaps for a few hours from say 5 or 6 am until 12pm or any other fraction thereof. A few people can stake out a spot inside the Nevin Sanctuary with some folding chairs and a cooler. I think if we do some work on the ‘bridge island’ before hand this would be an awesome vantage point this year.

I will bring this up at the Sept meeting, but i am hoping we can get some interested parties outside of that group.

More about the Big Sit:

“The Big Sit! is an annual, international, noncompetitive birdingevent hosted by Bird Watcher’s Digest and founded by the New Haven(CT) Bird Club. Every team that observes this year’s “Golden Bird” hasa chance to win $500. We hope bird watchers from around the globe willunite on this special day by participating in this event (it’s free!).The Big Sit! is sponsored by Swarovski Optik.

The Big Sit! is like a Big Day, or a bird-a-thon in that the object isto tally as many bird species as can be seen or heard within 24 hours.The difference lies in the area limitation from which you can observe.THIS FREE EVENT is OPEN to every person and club in any country!

Some people have called it a “tailgate party for birders.” Today thereare Big Sit! circles all over the world, including Guatemala, India,the Netherlands, England, Vietnam, and New Zealand.

The simplicity of the concept makes The Big Sit! so appealing. Find agood spot for bird watching — preferably one with good views of avariety of habitats and lots of birds. Next you create a real orimaginary circle 17 feet in diameter and sit inside the circle for 24hours, counting all the bird species you see or hear. That’s it. Finda spot, sit in it, have fun.”


August Meeting Results.

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Thank you to all who showed up at this month’s meeting. We had a marvelous turnout and covered a lot of things.

We have about 22 paid members now!
Soon we will have a Membership discount set up at Whirlaway Sports, similar to the members discount at Buchikas.

We have the September One Hour CLEAN UP scheduled for
Saturday Sept 11th at 8:00AM
LOCATION: under the Oakland ave bridge.
MEETUP: is on Union St at the old Laidlaw property. Park alongside the train tracks as this is still RR property.

We have TWO end-to-end walks scheduled on two consecutive Sunday mornings.
Sunday, August 15th at 8:00am
Sunday, August 22nd at 8:00am.

MEETUP: the back of the parking lot at IHOP on Rt 28.
we aren’t sure how long this 2.4 miles will take us.
Average adult walking speed on level surfaces is about 3 miles per hour.
This is not a level surface…yet. The Methuen rail bed is 2.4 miles long.

If anyone who doesn’t want to walk BOTH ways, down to the Lawrence Line and back.
let us know in advance and we can arrange for a ride back from the Granite Ave apt parking lot. Or you can park at Granite ave and we will drive you to IHOP.

We will be scheduling another Windham Rail Trail Group Ride on a weekend in Late September early October.

Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 14th at 7:00PM at the Nevins Library. Please come and bring a friend!

Thank you all for your support.
Joyce Godsey
Methuen Rail Trail Alliance

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