Update on the Mass Central Rail Trail: construction to expand the rail trail west to begin soon

Two major updates to share that will add significant miles to our rail trail. Over the next couple years our 5-miles of constructed MCRT in Wayland and Weston will be extended west to Sudbury and Hudson for a total of 14 miles.
The state approved a bond bill that will fund over $3m dollars for the construction of the last 1.3 miles of the rail trail in Wayland. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will complete final permits and hire the construction company.  This is great news because it will extend the rail trail which currently ends at Russell’s Garden Center. When this section is completed the trail will continue past Russell’s, over the Sudbury River, to the Sudbury town line.
Wayland – Railroad bridge over Sudbury River looking west
The other great news is that the final legal case holding up the rail-trail starting at the Wayland/Sudbury line and going west has been decided by the Mass Supreme Court. The town of Sudbury and a Sudbury neighborhood group were suing to stop the powerline/rail trail, however, the Sudbury appeal was determined to have no merit.  Eversource plans to start construction in September, they will remove the tracks, put underground power lines starting at the Wayland/Sudbury line, and go 9 miles to Hudson center. DCR will then cap the powerlines with a paved rail trail that will be a total of 14 miles of continuous MCRT from Weston to Hudson! It will also connect directly to the 12 mile Assabet River Rail Trail.
The other news to share is that over the spring the Wayland Girl Scouts conducted a survey of rail trail use in Wayland – they reviewed the survey results with the Wayland Board of Selectman.
Here are some summary observations from the survey:
  • 95% of users live within 5 miles of the trail
  • there is a broad distribution of users by age, frequency, and time of day
  • about half the people drive to the trail
  • about half the users walk and half bike
  • only about half know that the Wayland, Weston section is just one small piece of the planned 104- mile contiguous MCRT from Boston to Northampton.
Rail Trail Survey Comments:
  • Users like: the rail trail is peaceful, easy, in nature, paved, and there are no cars.
  • Areas to improve: They want a longer trail, something done about dog waste, and improved signage.
Rail Trail Count –  A Physical count showed 613 users over the 7 weekend hours of observation.
Thank you, Wayland Girl Scouts – You did a great job!

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