Some of the region’s easiest paths to travel on foot or pedal are those that once served our local railways. Delicately carved into the hillsides and bedrock of CT, NY, & MA, providing an interconnected web of pathways.
At the turn of the 20th century, the Central New England Railway was the product of several acquisitions that connected rails from Hartford, CT to Springfield, MA and westward through the Hudson Valley to Poughkeepsie, NY. Known to have some of the steepest grades of any lines, this merger of several railways in 1927 was a brief solution to transportation while mass production of automobiles was unexpectedly becoming increasingly more common. Therefore, only 5 years after CNE was in full swing, portions of the rail lines slowly became abandoned – in 1932 the portion connecting Boston Corners, NY to Western CT shutdown, in 1938 the NY main lines to Lakeville terminated, and finally in 1965, the railway between Lakeville’s Main terminal and Canaan, CT closed their doors.
What remains today of our historic railways are some the most scenic passes through the countryside, carefully preserved and embraced by our communities and now serving as bicycle paths, walking trails, and cross-country skiing tracks.