West Manchester - Goffstown

A potential Rail-trail

Miles* Station Municipality
0.0 Manchester Manchester
1.02 West Manchester Manchester
4.26 Grasmere Jct Goffstown
5.21 Grasmere Goffstown
7.35 Shirley Hill Goffstown
8.12 Goffstown Goffstown

* Railroad Miles from Manchester
Italic face - Station beyond end of proposed trail
Dark face = telegraph station in 1923

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

Click on the map to browse!

Abandoned railroad bridge across the Merrimack River.

Despite the great difficulty and expense, Rail-trail planners must somehow utilize the abandoned railroad bridge across the Merrimack River as a dramatic trail entrance into downtown Manchester. This bridge has obviously been left in place to support an old pipeline. But there must be important practical and esthetic reasons to somehow overcome the following problems:

Note that any permanent trail entrance to Manchester must also provide a suitable connection to the potential East Manchester Rail-trail, possibly by means of a trail alongside the potentially active track of the Manchester & Lawrence Branch. This connection would enable trail users from Goffstown to traven east on a continuous Rail-trail to Elliot Hospital, Lake Massabesic, and then continue on the Portsmouth Branch Rail-trail to Rockingham if desired.

In the meantime, the Rail-trail can easily begin at the site of the West Manchester station at South Main Street. Rail-trail users then can cross the river on the Granite Street Bridge directly into downtown Manchester. Conversely, trail users can also cross on the Queen City Bridge, continue east on Queen City avenue, then jog north at Union Street to the beginning of the proposed East Manchester Rail-trail.

Potential Rail-trail alongside the West Side Ice Arena.

In any event, the potential Rail-trail will run west from Main Street then run along Douglas Street to the West Side Ice Arena and the surrounding park. With the exception of the initial quarter-mile, this portion of the railroad bed is already being used as a trail on an informal basis.

Railroad Trestle across the Piscataquog River.

Funding must be found to rebuild the burned out railroad trestle over the Piscataquog River to allow trail users to cross over to the south side of the river just above the power dam. This important bridge would also allow trail users to continue through the Pinardville and Grasmere sections to finally reach the edge of downtown Goffstown.

Note that the locations of the intermediate stations has not been determined!

The potential end-of-trail in Goffstown.

The trail would finally end at the edge of Glen Lake in downtown Goffstown. Unfortunately, it is not practical to extend the trail across the lake to the nearby Goffstown Depot!

Former Goffstown Depot.

Click on the map to browse!

With the exception of the bridges noted above, the railroad bed seemed to be physically intact during a series of spot checks conducted on August 13, 1998. Indeed, some parts of the railroad bed show a pattern of obvious use for trail purposes!

Note that the Webmaster has not checked the condition of the railroad bed between Goffstown and Parker! 

Note that the following text was discovered on the City of Manchester  - Parks Department Web Site on March 29, 2001:

Piscataquog Trail-way

The City of Manchester recently purchased a two-mile section of the former Manchester and North Weare Branch of the Boston & Maine Railroad from the Merrimack River to the Goffstown town line. The first phase of construction begins at Turner Street and ends at South Main Street. This first section of the abandoned rail line will be converted into a safe, paved pedestrian and bicycling corridor. Improvements include a new bridge over Second street, lighting, and benches and landscaping. Subsequent phases will bring the trail through the rural West Side to the Goffstown town line. Final design is nearing completion and construction is expected to be complete by Fall 2001.

Railroad Abandonment Summary

Item From To Year RR Miles
336 Manchester Goffstown 1981 B&M 8.1

B&M - Boston & Maine Railroad

From the "Directory of Rail Abandonments 1848-1994" in the book by Ronald Dale Karr Lost Railroads of New England, 2nd Ed., published by Branch Line Press in 1996.

Newspaper Articles:

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

Federal ISTEA Funding Summary

Cycle Project Name City Activity Federal $ Match $ Total $
1995 Acq./Develop Goffstown Branch RR Manchester Combination $210,000 $52,500 $262,500
From a table of ISTEA Enhancement Funded Projects in New Hampshire prepared by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in July 1998

Sign images are from the Manual of Traffic Signs, by Richard C. Moeur.

Updated on March 29, 2001 by Kenyon F. Karl <Webmaster@new-england-rail-trails.org>.
  Unintentional errors are likely!

Click for Manchester, New Hampshire Forecast

Click for Goffstown, New Hampshire Forecast

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