FNRT Trails Day Event.

  Lebanon, June 1, 2002 - 8:30 AM.

The Northern Railtrail will begin work to convert 0.8 mile of the abandoned rail corridor between High Street in downtown Lebanon and APD Hospital on Mascoma St. on Nat. Trails Day, June 1. Volunteers are needed to collect trash, cut brush and small trees, and remove tires and metal that have accumulated over 25 years. They can also try their hand at pulling railroad spikes!

Heavy gloves are a must for this work, as briars and thorns abound along the railbed. Heavy-duty loppers and similar equipment would be appreciated. Drinks and snacks will be provided. Convenient parking is available: 

<Dick Mackay [Dick.mackay@valley.net] March 20, 2002 9:39 AM>

Northern Line Rail-trail

Boscawen End of Track to Ford Mill Road in Danbury

Cross-Country Skiing SnowshoeingSnowmobiling

Railroad ties have been removed from the trail surface from Ford Mill Road in Danbury to Boscawen Depot except for a six mile stretch in East Andover where the rails are still in place. Unfortunately, a heavy coat of crushed rock railroad ballast has been left in place that is very uncomfortable for all of the legal warm-weather modes of usage. Rotten railroad ties remain in place from Boscawen Depot to the South end of the Trail. Note however that every bridge has been provided with solid decks and safety railings that meet the specifications of the Bureau of rails. Accordingly, this section of the trail is not suitable for public use until it is covered with a heavy coat of snow!

There are no facilities located on the trail, and off-trail facilities are limited to those provided by nearby convenience stores and public buildings. Those few trail signs that do exist have been provided by the local snowmobile clubs.

This trail is administered by the NH DRED Bureau of Trails.

Local coordination and volunteer management is provided by the following organizations:

Ford Mill Road in Danbury to Lebanon Station

Hiking Trail Bicycle Trail Horse Trail Cross-Country Skiing SnowshoeingSnowmobiling

The trail is officially under construction! All railroad ties have been removed from the trail surface, and the cinder ballast has been graded and compacted to provide a suitable trail surface for multi-modal usage. Note however that a few sections of the trail are still surfaced with heavy stone railroad ballast which will be unpleasant for some users. Every bridge has been provided with solid decks and safety railings that meet the specifications of the Bureau of Trails.

There are no facilities located on the trail, and off-trail facilities are limited to those provided by nearby stores and public buildings. Those few trail signs that do exist have been provided by the local snowmobile clubs, and these signs are not maintained for warm weather users.

This trail is administered by the NH DRED Bureau of Trails.

Local coordination and volunteer management is provided by the following organizations:

Please note that the FRNT has published a brochure that contains maps of the Grafton County section of the Rail-trail, which is reproduced on their Official Web Site for the convenience of all trail users! 

Lebanon Station to Alice Peck Day Hospital Area

Rail-trail extension under construction

The railroad bridge over the Mascoma River in the Lower Meadows, roughly halfway between Lebanon and West Lebanon marks the approximate end of the 59.3 mile abandoned section of the NH-DOT owned railroad bed that is managed by the DRED Bureau of Trails for recreational usage. Alice Peck Day Hospital Area is perhaps the half-way point of the potential westward extension of the rail-trail, and likewise represents the most useful extension of the trail because it would serve:

 The Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Grafton County (FRNT) has announced plans to begin work on an eastward extension of the trail beginning with a Trail Work Day scheduled for June 1, 2002 on an 0.8 mile section between the High Street Crossing and the Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital. This segment will eventually be connected westward through the railroad tunnel under the Downtown Lebanon Plaza to the rest of the rail trail at Spencer Street (site of Lebanon Station). 

Alice Peck Day Hospital  to White River Junction

Potential Rail-trail & Rail-with-Trail

The Upper Valley Trails Alliance is the primary advocate of this extension, as part of their envisioned Upper Valley Loop Trail

Mileage Chart & 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. 


Station Name




73.32 Concord TFP Concord Concord
79.91 Penacook TFP Penacook Concord
--?-- Hannah Duston Memorial Concord
--?-- Boscawen End of Trail Boscawen
82.65 Boscawen TFP Boscawen Boscawen
86.57 Gerrish TFP Gerrish Boscawen
89.57 Webster Place --- Webster Place Franklin
90.53 Franklin Jct T-P   Franklin
91.99 Franklin TFP Franklin Franklin
93.87 Webster Lake --- Webster Lake Franklin
98.20 Halcyon TFP East Andover Andover
102.54 Andover TFP Andover Andover
104.32 Potter Place TFP Potter Place Andover
105.51 Gale TFP West Andover Andover
108.24 Converse TFP S Danbury Danbury
111.67 Danbury TFP Danbury Danbury
--?-- ----- --- Ford Mill Road Danbury
116.85 Grafton TFP Grafton Grafton
118.65 Cardigan TFP Grafton Center Grafton
--?-- [Summit Siding] --- Orange
124.87 Canaan TFP Canaan Canaan
129.24 Pattee TFP West Canaan Canaan
131.66 Enfield TFP Enfield Enfield
134.25 Mascoma TFP Mascoma Lebanon
138.30 Lebanon TFP Lebanon Lebanon
142.55 Westboro TFP West Lebanon Lebanon
142.92 White River Jct. TFP White River Jct. Hartford, VT

* = Railroad Miles from Boston
Italics = beyond the limits of the current Rail-trail
Svc (in 1923): T=Telegraph, F=Freight Accounts, P=Passenger Tickets
Dark face station name suggests presence of depot building in 1923

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

Note that each page contains a map generated 'on-the-fly' by the Mapblast map server that shows the approximate location of the former railroad station. This map also serves as a link to the map server which allows the user to browse a series of maps of the surrounding area at a variety of map scales. The map server in turn allows access to a 'yellow pages' style business directory of the area surrounding the former railroad station!

Note that the railroad symbol is used on the maps to represent the Rail-trail. Trail users must pay close attention to the detailed textual information about the trail since the same map symbol also represents abandoned, dormant and even active railroads in the vicinity of the rail-trail as well as elsewhere on the Mapblast Web Site!

Each page also contains a link to a 1:24000 scale USGS Topographic Map for the area surrounding the railroad station from the TopoZone Web Site. The browsing feature of this Web Site allows users to locate the trail at any of the former railroad stations, then follow the trail as far as is desired from that point. Again, the rail-trail is shown on these maps as an active railroad, thus trail users must likewise pay close attention to the detailed textual information to determine the extent of the usable trail! 

Most of the detailed information about the trail and the nearby facilities has been collected by the Webmaster in the course of rather infrequent visits to the trail. Hence all information about the trail and its nearby facilities is subject to unintentional errors! 

Newspaper Articles

Bus Stop Bus Station Train Station Public Transit Service to the trail.

Advance Transit operates a city transit system with frequent weekday service between downtown Lebanon and Hanover.  Connecting busses serve Hartland, Wilder, Norwich, West Lebanon and White River Junction on a less frequent basis. Limited service is operated on the highway that roughly parallels the rail-trail to Enfield and Canaan. No bus service is available in the evening or on Weekends and Holidays. The detailed trail information pages notes the locations of the nearest bus stops to the rail-trail. Advance Transit busses have bike racks!

Amtrak Vermonter trains stop at White River Jct. (WRJ) on a daily basis. This particular train will accept unboxed bikes and skis by advance reservation at all stops except Claremont, NH in a baggage car that contains special racks for bikes and skis. Amtrak also accepts bikes and skis in boxes as baggage on a nationwide basis, but only at those stations that accept checked baggage, for transportation on those trains that feature baggage service. The Vermonter schedule is also available at the DVARP Web Site.

Vermont Transit (Greyhound) provides intercity bus service at White River Jct. with some service to Hanover. Limited service is also provided to the Intermodal Terminal near downtown Concord. Note that bikes in boxes and skis are accommodated aboard Vermont Transit busses as part of the passenger baggage allowance.

Dartmouth Coach provides intercity bus service from Boston & Logan Airport to New London, Lebanon, & Hanover. Note that bicycles are accommodated in boxes on a space available basis. 

Greater Laconia Transit Agency operates a city bus on a limited schedule on weekdays between Laconia and downtown Franklin, about a mile away from the trail. This bus will stop by advance request at the Concord Trailways Agency at Tilton Jct. At last inquiry, this bus does not accommodate bikes or skis.

Concord Trailways provides intercity bus service at Tilton Jct about 5 miles east of Franklin Station via Route 3. Unboxed bicycles and skis are accommodated without charge in the baggage bins of the bus under certain conditions.

Concord Trailways Vermont Transit (Greyhound) and Peter Pan Bus Lines serve the Concord Intermodal Terminal, about 8 miles south of the end of the trail. 

Concord Area Transit provides city bus service between Penacook and downtown Concord on weekdays only, with a connecting route to the Concord Bus Station.  The CAT Senior Transit Service serves Boscawen on a Door-to-Door Basis on Mondays by advance arrangement only. At last inquiry, neither bus accommodates bikes or skis. 

Boston to Montreal High Speed Rail Study

A website has been developed as part of a public outreach campaign to generate interest and identify issues for high speed rail service in the Boston to Montreal corridor. The site is located at www.bostonmontrealhsr.org and includes an overview of high speed rail, a description of the corridor, links to other related sites and an up-to-date schedule of the Phase I activities, including future meeting dates.

This high speed rail proposal is expected to use the entire length of the Northern Line Rail-trail!

One-Call Dig-safe AT&T Fibre Optics Cable

The American Telephone & Telegraph Company has buried a fibre optic cable under parts or all of the rail-trail bed. AT&T has also placed tiny electronic equipment buildings every 26 miles (more or less) along the trail. The approximate location of this underground cable is marked by orange plastic marker posts every 500 to 700 feet. 

Because of the importance of this cable to both internet communications and ordinary long distance telephone calls across New England, all trail users are requested to carefully note of any damage to the trail surface or  any other potential threat to this underground cable and its associated equipment shacks. Your observations along with the unique number of the nearest orange plastic marker post must be reported at your first opportunity by means of a toll-free (or collect) telephone call to the telephone number listed on the marker post! Trail volunteers are also required to call this number before performing any work on the trail!

The unique number of the nearest orange marker post should also be used when reporting any situation to emergency, law enforcement, or trail organizations, since these agencies will in turn be able to quickly determine the precise location of that post by means of a toll-free (or collect) telephone call!

Note that Dig-Safe System may accept these telephone calls at 1-888-DIG-SAFE or 1-888-344-7233.

Railroad Abandonment Summary

Item From To Year RR Miles
387 Boscawen Lebanon 1992 B&M 59.3
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.

Federal Funding Summary

Project Name Year City County Federal $ Local $ Total $
Acq. of Northern RR, Boscowin - Lebanon 1995 Boscawen Grafton $1,256,000 $314,000 $1,570,000

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 - #112 Authorized contract with R.M. Piper, Inc., Plymouth, NH on the basis of a low bid of $1,737,185.95 for reconstruction of US Route 4, realignment of the intersection of Tunnel Road with US 4, removal of the existing railroad bridge overpass and replacement of the bridge over Tweksbury Brook and relocation of the recreational trial along the railroad bed with a completion date of June 15, 2001.

Item #106 of the Executive Council Minutes for May 24, 2000

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION - Authorized to enter into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with the Boston and Maine Corporation to acquire a parcel of land comprising a portion of the Northern Railroad line Lebanon, for a price not to exceed $790,000.

of the Executive Council Minutes for July 21, 1999

Railroad Reconstruction Studies

Note that the high-speed rail line proposal envisions operation of passenger trains at 110 miles per hour between infrequent stops. Thus it will require a detailed engineering analysis of this line to determine just how much of the 150 year old railroad bed can be used for the new high-speed line. Thus it is possible that the new line will be built on a totally new location in many places, leaving the corresponding sections of the old railroad bed intact for trail purposes. 

But wherever the railroad is reconstructed on the old railroad bed, it is the Webmaster's hope that sufficient funds will be available for reconstruction of the trail on State-owned land alongside the new railroad track. Indeed, the service roads that are currently considered necessary for railroad construction and maintenance purposes could easily be designed to also serve as a trail surface. It is likewise a relatively simple matter to attach a trail bridge to the side of a newly constructed or rehabilitated railroad bridge. 

Sign images are from the Manual of Traffic Signs by Richard C. Moeur.
Updated on March 20, 2002 by Kenyon F. Karl <Webmaster@new-england-rail-trails.org>.
  Unintentional errors are likely!

Go to:

FREE Web Space provided by:


Add  Language Translation to your browser from the Babel Fish Tool page from AltaVista: