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Thread: Rails to Trails construction has begun

  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Smile Rails to Trails construction has begun

    Hello all,

    For those unaware, construction on a new multi use trail has started. They started Monday in Whitneyville. The new trail will replace the old rail road track from Ellsworth all the way to Calais. 85 or so miles I believe. The surface is to be fixed w/ new bridges and culverts. It is to be used for hiking, biking, horseback riding, skiing, snowshoeing, ATVs and snowmoblies. I hope the ATVs and snowsleds have a speed limit and there is a way to enforce it. It is very hard to jump out of the way of a sled going 70 mph while wearing snow shoes.

    The price of the construction will be almost completely paid by the scrap from the rails. They hope to be completed construction by fall 2009 although some parts of the trail will open sooner. I have always loved hiking along the old tracks. They lead to some really great places.

    The trail will be managed by the Sunrise Trail Coalition. http://www.hcpcme.org/transportation/sunrise/

    THE BEST PART: I have been in contact with the President of the Coalition (Sally Jacobs) about geocaching. She advised that they are very much on board with geocaching and welcome it!!!! Only have to keep in mind the state owned trail will be only be 66 feet wide in most places. Go out more than 33 feet from the center and you could be on private property. Not much room, but if you find the right spot it is possible. I also think it goes with out saying that I will wait until construction is complete and that section of the trail is open before I place any caches. I do have a spot or two picked out.

    With no chance of the train coming back, this is the next best thing. Hope to see you on the Trail........

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Gainesville, Georgia
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    I love rail to trail caches. Hope this one is is as good as others I have been on.
    Just smile it won't crack your face

    The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is
    suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best
    friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.

  3. #3
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    Jun 2004
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    Litchfield, Maine
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    85 miles on one trail. How about a weekend group ride from Ellsworth all the way to Calais on bikes. Sounds like a lot of fun. I think this is something we need to plan in the future.
    Blazing Troll

  4. #4
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    Jul 2005
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    Unity, Maine
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    Oh . . . and I thought everyone downeast was opposed to this project . . . at least that's what the political activist said in the Bangor Daily News article.

    That . . . and she said something about stopping construction since the construction (or would this be deconstruction) crew inadvertently destroyed some turtle eggs as they pulled up the old rails and ties? Can't have the mean, ol' construction guys harming any living creature, right?

    OK, enough sarcasm. Honestly, as an avid ATVer, sledder and geocacher I'm pretty excited to see work progressing on this trail and know for a fact that I will be traveling this trail when it is finished and contrary to what some folks have said I will be spending money on gas, food, etc. . . . although to be fair to the trail opponents I don't think the multi-use rail trail will be an economic godsend for all of the region.

    As for the turtle eggs . . . an accident is an accident.

    As for folks who keep crying about how this will mean the railroad will not be coming back . . . what world are these folks living in . . . I mean the railroad hasn't run in that area for over 20 years . . . and unless there is some great and massive influx of people and/or business the railroad will not be viable and will not be coming back. Even in areas where railroads are making some inroads (southern Maine) you still see the feds and state subsidizing the business. Personally, I'm wondering if the scenic railline that will be operating from Ellsworth to Green Lake will even be able to make it . . . and closer to home I'm personally hoping no one will buy up the Belfast and Moosehead Lake RR so that in time the State may be enticed to buy it up . . . probably just a pipe dream, but it's my dream. Final thought . . . from what I've been told the rails and ties and bed are in pretty rough shape anyways . . . if anything this project is going to improve the railbed so that if for some great unknown reason the railroads come back the railbed will be in a better shape.

    Enough ranting and raving . . . .
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  5. #5
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    Mar 2007
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    You are right FFJ. In order for the train to return the rails and ties would all need to be pulled up and replaced.

    At least with the trail system the rails and ties will be removed and the surface improved. That way if the train ever does return half the work is already done.

    Most people are not against it. Only a few people making headlines. IMHO I would prefer to have the train back, but at this time it is not realistic. That being said, I would much rather see the road put to some use rather than sitting there rotting away as it has for 25 or so years.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefighterjake View Post
    if anything this project is going to improve the railbed so that if for some great unknown reason the railroads come back the railbed will be in a better shape.
    And then there is the group that opposes Guilford Rail's proposed rock quarry in Embden - the quarry that is supposed to supply all the rock ballast they need to fix/maintain their roads.

  7. #7
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    Well, they could truck all the rock from the rails to trails project to Embden, and burn thousands of gallons of gas. Maybe that would be better

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudonim View Post
    Well, they could truck all the rock from the rails to trails project to Embden, and burn thousands of gallons of gas. Maybe that would be better
    No, the rock quarried in Embden is supposed to provide the balast for their entire rail network in Maine and Massachusetts.

    The rails end 4-5 miles south of the proposed quarry, but the rail bed (currently a WELL USED rail trail, is in good shape to the quarry site

  9. #9
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    Yeah what a bummer too. I was probably one of the last railroad employees when it was MCRR to roll over those rails and I know I was the last employee to work out of Bingham with ole Charlie Hartwell at the helm. I was employed at the time by the MCRR and had the distinction of partaking in the removal of the rail line from Bingham to N.Anson , much too my dismay ,behind the Carrabec school. It sure was a beautiful rail line. Especially during the fall along the Kennebec and during hunting season we used to travel the whole line from Oakland all the way to Bingham with a hunting rifle tucked away in a non-conspicuous place on our little putt-putt.... We would see literally hundreds of deer during the course of the hunting season. Sure miss those railroad days!!!
    Just smile it won't crack your face

    The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is
    suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best
    friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.

  10. #10
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    Litchfield, Maine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haffy View Post
    Yeah what a bummer too. I was probably one of the last railroad employees when it was MCRR to roll over those rails and I know I was the last employee to work out of Bingham with ole Charlie Hartwell at the helm. I was employed at the time by the MCRR and had the distinction of partaking in the removal of the rail line from Bingham to N.Anson , much too my dismay ,behind the Carrabec school. It sure was a beautiful rail line. Especially during the fall along the Kennebec and during hunting season we used to travel the whole line from Oakland all the way to Bingham with a hunting rifle tucked away in a non-conspicuous place on our little putt-putt.... We would see literally hundreds of deer during the course of the hunting season. Sure miss those railroad days!!!
    Yeah, the times have changed and they say it is for the best but sometimes I wonder.
    Blazing Troll

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