Cheshire County Rail-Trails

Within Keene City Limits:

Generally within the city limits, the City of Keene owns and manages the rail-trail network as part of its alternate transportation and recreational pathway system. As such, the City Planning Office is heavily involved in the planning of the three rail-trails that are within Keene's municipal boundaries. In addition, the City Planning Office is heavily involved in the NH-DOT plan to reconstruct the Keene Bypass Highway and to include a multi-purpose pathway within the project boundaries. Last but not least, the City Planning Office is heavily committed to a variety of pedestrian paths and bicycle routes within the city limits.

Pathways for Keene is a non-profit (501C3 tax exempt) group of volunteers who promote the public bicycle and pedestrian system in the City of Keene and who solicit contributions to accomplish this goal.

Surrounding towns:

The Rail-trail in the Surrounding towns of New Hampshire has been purchased by NH-DOT with Federal ISTEA or TEA-21 Transportation Enhancement funding. It is managed for recreational trail purposes by:

Bureau of Trails
Division of Parks & Recreation

NH Dept. of Resources & Econ. Dev.
PO Box 1856, Concord, NH 03302-1856
Phone 603-271-3254 - FAX 603-271-2629

Local coordination is provided by:

Friends of Pisgah
John Summers, Chair of Trail committee
Summers Backcountry Sports
16 Ashuelot St, Keene NH 03431

Mileage Tables & Detailed trail information

The following railroad mileage chart also serves as a table of contents for the detailed rail-trail information and associated pictures. Each page begins with the historic name of the former railroad station, and continues with detailed information about the trail on either side of that railroad station, to a point roughly half-way to the next railroad station. The page then concludes with a set of icons representing the services and points of interest that are within a reasonable distance of the trail. 

Cheshire Branch Rail-trail

42 miles state owned

Miles* Station Svc. Settlement Municipality
67.92 Winchendon TFP Winchendon, MA Winchendon, MA
70.93 State Line TFP State Line Fitzwilliam
76.28 Fitzwilliam TFP Fitzwilliam Depot Fitzwilliam
81.55 Troy TFP Troy Troy
85.30 Webb TFP Webb Station Marlboro
89.22 Joslin TFP Joslin Keene
91.28 Keene TFP Keene Keene
100.36 Gilboa TFP East Westmoreland Westmoreland
103.66 Westmoreland TFP Westmoreland Station Westmoreland
109.82 Walpole TFP Walpole Walpole
112.57 Cold River -FP Cold River Walpole

Ashuelot Branch Rail-trail

21 miles state owned

Miles*** Station Svc. Settlement Municipality
0.00 Dole Jct. T-- Dole Jct. Hinsdale
2.63 Hinsdale TFP Hinsdale Hinsdale
6.13 Ashuelot TFP Asheulot Winchester
8.32 Winchester TFP Winchester Winchester
10.41 Forest Lake --- ? Winchester
13.71 Westport --- Westport Swanzey
16.25 West Swanzey TFP West Swanzey Swanzey
18.45 Swanzey --- Swanzey Swanzey
21.75 Keene TFP Keene Keene

Fort Hill Branch  Rail-trail

8.9 miles state owned

Miles** Station Svc. Settlement Municipality
50.89 Doolittle --- ? Hinsdale
51.92 Dole Jct. T-- Dole Junction Hinsdale
53.87 Fort Hill --- Hinsdale Hinsdale
60.29 Brattleboro TFP Brattleboro, VT Brattleboro, VT

* Railroad miles from Boston
** Railroad miles from Springfield, MA
*** Railroad miles from Dole Jct.
Svc. (in 1923): T=Telegraph, F=Freight Accounts, P=Passenger tickets
Bold face suggests depot present in 1923.
Italic Face indicates a point beyond the end of the currently open trail.

Mileage and Station Names from Official List of Officers, Agents and Stations of the Boston & Maine Railroad, July 1,1923

Rail-trail users must note that four rail-trails currently converge at Winchendon MA:

Other Rail-Trail Guides at the Adventure Files Web Site:

These postings were written by G. Scott Graham for publication in the Monadnock Shopper News.

Books about the Trail:

A 21 mile section of the Ashuelot Branch Rail-trail from Hinsdale (Dole Jct) to Keene (State College Campus) is described in section 18 of  the Official Rails-to-Trails Conservancy New England Guidebook by Cynthia Mascott published in 2000 by Globe Pequot Press. This trail listing contains a photograph, historical description, trail head directions and parking, a trail map, trail details, a local trail manager contact, and much more. 

Yellow PagesMapblast! Local Services Directory and Maps

Any Mapblast Map on this Web Site is a link to the Mapblast Web Site which in turn leads to a Business Directory of the surrounding area.

Information KeeneNH.Com - A Regional & Local Directory

The newspapers published by Keene Publishing (The Keene Sentinel, River Record, Monadnock Home Companion, Star Spangled Banner) have organized a regional and town-by-town directory for the combined circulation area of this regional family of newspapers.  

Two centuries of news

Selected articles about the general history of the region from the The Keene Sentinel's commemorative edition that was published July 26-27, 1999. 

Web Site features a series of pages containing a brief historical background and other information about each municipality within the circulation area of the newspaper. The second link leads to a set of 


The Fort Hill Branch, built in 1912, runs on the east side of the Connecticut River for about 9 miles from Dole Junction, NH to Brattleboro, VT. It was built to supplement service on the single-track railroad between Vernon and Brattleboro on the west side of the Connecticut River. After it crosses the bridge into Vermont, The Fort Hill Branch rejoins the existing railroad on the west side of the River. The NH portion of the corridor, including the bridge, is being considered for the project. The one half mile leg in Vermont is presently privately owned.

The Ashuelot Branch, built about 1848, extends from the Connecticut River across from Vernon, VT northeast along its namesake river for 23 miles to Keene, NH. Dole Junction, about a mile north of the site of the dismantled Connecticut River bridge, is the site where the Fort Hill Branch begins it route northwest to Brattleboro, VT. The portion from the intersection with the Cheshire Branch in Keene to the Connecticut River is being considered for the project.

The Cheshire Branch, built about 1850, ran from South Ash Curve on the present day ST's Freight Main in South Ashburnham, MA through Cheshire County, NH to Bellows Falls, VT. It meets the Ashuelot Branch in Downtown Keene. The portion between Winchendon, MA and North Walpole, NH is being considered for the project.

Edited by Ethan Haslett <ethan@cs.umass.edu> and published in Volume III, Issue 2 (February 19, 1997) edition of the Web newsletter Rumors & Sightings on and around Springfield Terminal. This text was revised by the late Bill Appel of Keene, NH in a letter dated June 8, 1998 for this Web Page.

Railroad Abandonment Summary

Item From To Year RR Miles
291 Keene Cold River 1972 B&M 20.7
294 Winchendon, MA Swanzey, NH 1972 B&M 20.6
350A East Northfield, MA Brattleboro, VT 1983 B&M 11.3
350B Dole Jct. Keene 1983 B&M 21.7
350C at Keene   1983 B&M 3.1
B&M = Boston & Maine Railroad
From the Directory of Rail Abandonments 1848-1994 in the book Lost Railroads of New England, 2nd Ed. by Ronald Dale Karr, published by Branch Line Press in 1996

1895 County Atlas - showing railroads [very slow loading]:

Federal Funding Summary

Project Name Year City County Federal $ Local $ Total $
Acq. Ft. Hill RR Line 1994 Hinsdale N/A $267,037 $66,759 $333,796
Acq. of Ashwelot Line, Keene-Hinsdale 1995 Keene Cheshire $432,000 $108,000 $540,000
Acq. of Cheshire Line, N. Waldpole - MA Stline 1995 Walpole Cheshire $816,000 $204,000 $1,020,000
Cheshire Branch Trail, Dowtown Keene 1997 Keene Cheshire $299,351

$74,838

$374,189
Downtown Segmt.-Cheshire Br. Tr. & N. leg-Aueshelot Tr. 2001 KEENE N/A $384,570 $96,143 $480,713
Rail-trail, trailhead parking lot, for safer trail access 2002 SWANZEY N/A $23,600 $5,900

$29,500

This list is drawn on April 8, 2000 from a database maintained by the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse.  Direct questions to NTEC at 1-888-388-NTEC or by email to ntec@transact.org.

NH Executive Council Actions

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION -  Authorized to sell to the Keene Country Club, 755 West Hill Road, Keene, NH an area of 10,800 square feet, more or less, of the State-owned Cheshire Branch Railroad Line in the City of Keene for $2,000.00 plus a one time administrative fee of $500.00.

Item #107 of the Executive Council Minutes for June 8, 2000

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION - Authorized to enter into a lease with Winchester Assembly of God, 23 Elm Street, Winchester, NH for 5,000 square feet, more or less, of the State-owned Cheshire Branch Railroad Line in the Town of Winchester for a period of 5 years at $100.00 per year.

Item #107 of the Executive Council Minutes for January 5, 2000

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION - Authorized to enter into a lease with Arthur Brnger d/b/a Brnger, Inc., 304 Monadock Highway, East Swanzey, NH for 18,000 square feet, more or less, of the State-owned Cheshire Branch Railroad Line in the Town of Swanzey for a period of 5 years at $1,440.00 per year with an option of an additional 5 years at the then current market rate, plus a one time administrative fee of $500.00.

Item
#208
of the Executive Council Minutes for
August 18, 1999

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION - Authorized to grant to the City of Keene a permanent easement on 3.9 acres of the State owned Cheshire Branch Railroad Line in Keene to the City of Keene for a cost of $200.00 plus an Administrative fee of $500.00 for a total of $700.00.

Item 
#247
of the Executive Council Minutes for July 21, 1999

News articles about Rail-trails

Recent news articles from the archives of The Keene Sentinel.


Highway and trail sign images are from the Manual of Traffic Signs by Richard C. Moeur.

Updated on August 07, 2001 by Kenyon F. Karl <Webmaster@new-england-rail-trails.org>.
  Unintentional errors are likely!

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