Mass Central Rail Trail Coalition
The Mass Central Rail Trail logo to the left was designed and trademarked by Wachusett Greenways (WG) in Worcester County back in the mid 1990s to call out the idea of a state-wide trail network.
1999, Wachusett Greenways hosted the first "Golden Spike 1999" ceremony in West Boylston to highlight their success to that time and to launch a vision of a state-wide endeavor. Congressman Jim McGovern spoke enthusiastically and echoed our vision for a statewide greenway before about 100 attendees who then were treated to a tour of the section in West Boylston that had been opened about two years earlier.
2002, “Golden Spike 2002" was hosted by the Wayside Rail Trail Committee and held on the campus of Bentley University in Waltham. At this event, over 400 people came—on a weekday. This included state reps and senators from every community on the corridor and we secured leaders from the various environmental and transportation agencies to come and speak about our vision. We even invited the gubernatorial candidates of the time. The key though was the hundreds of people from all of the communities along the MCRT who came and helped celebrate our vision of a statewide greenway.
We organized it to be a fun day with a band, food and lots of brochures, posters and other information from every group/community along the corridor. Even though it was a workday, the hottest day of the year (over 90 degrees) and we had no ground-breaking or ribbon-cutting, over 400 people showed up. At that time, Golden Spike 2002 was a the largest rail trail event ever held in the state.
A few notable things came of Golden Spike 2002:
1. The formation of the Rail Trail, Bicycle and Pedestrian Caucus in the Massachusetts State House. This is the first such caucus operating at state government level in the U.S. and it is one of the largest bipartisan caucuses operating on Beacon Hill.
2. The creation of the Mass Central Rail Trail Coalition-- MCRTC. We meet on an irregular basis to give updates on each section of the trail, share ideas and contacts, and energize groups to work on their sections.
3. The idea of of a state-wide trail fitted out with a unified name instead of a localized or balkanized name is an important thing. This unified name has come about because of our efforts and it will lead to a unified marketing effort once the trail further knits together.
In 2005, we held one in Somerville
In 2008 we held one in Northampton at the Northampton Brewery.
In 2012 we held one in Rutland that included a tour of Charnock Cut--the highest point on the MCRT.
In 2014, we held one in Clinton—co-sponsored by the Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust. That day included a tour of the 900 foot tunnel. Also in 2014, we did rail trail update events in both Easthampton, MA and Simsbury, CT for gatherings of the folks involved in the north - south trail. The N-S trail has a rebranding effort underway that is similar to what is happening along the MCRT. A website about the project plots the progress thus far. https://nhncg.org/
In 2018, this was the most recent gathering. Held at Northampton’s Union Station, this was is located at 0.0 miles—the starting point for the MCRT line that goes all the way to Boston’s North Station. And it is the technical terminus--0.0 miles of the old New Haven Railroad’s Canal Division line from New Haven, CT to Northampton. The website for that event is still operation. https://www.gs2018.org
2021 is our 8th event.