Join RRCT’s The Habitat Bunch for a discussion on this evolving planned rail trail on September 30th. Details here.
The Casco Bay Trail Alliance is laying the groundwork for a major regional trail network, including the proposed 17-mile “Royal River Greenbelt” from Yarmouth to Danville (Auburn), using the state-owned Saint Lawrence & Atlantic Rail Line. More information is on the webpage of the Casco Bay Trail Alliance.
RRCT is using this webpage to provide information and track discussions in multiple communities.
The Casco Bay Trail Alliance reports that nine communities so far have adopted resolutions asking Maine DOT to use their new Rail Corridor Advisory Council process to evaluate the St. Lawrence and Atlantic rail corridor as a potential rail trail. Huge thanks to the Councils or Select Boards in Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland, Yarmouth, North Yarmouth, Pownal, Lewiston, Lisbon and Freeport. The concept was well-received by an initial presentation in New Gloucester (Select Board) September 1st. The press reports positive expected dialog with the Auburn City Council. Press Herald stories here: (PPH1, PPH2, PPH3).
North Yarmouth Select Board presentation and discussion June 16, 2021: https://townhallstreams.com/stream.php?location_id=62&id=38361
Freight Easement on the state-owned Saint Lawrence & Atlantic Line between B&M Baked Beans and Danville Junction: While there has been no freight rail service on the line for years, a the state maintains a freight easement (lease) allowing freight service. The easement expires in October 2021. Communities are being asked to urge the state to allow the freight easement to expire, facilitating use of the rail line as a trail.
Rail Corridor Use Advisory Council: Communities are being asked to ask Maine DOT to convene an advsory process. LD 1133 An Act to Amend the Transportation Laws (2021) 23 MRSA §75 is enacted to read: Rail corridor use advisory councils: Upon petition by one or more governmental entities that represent communities along a state-owned rail corridor in which the department controls the right-of-way requesting the department to review a nonrail recreational or nonrecreational transportation use of that rail corridor, the Commissioner of Transportation, for each petition received, shall notify the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over transportation matters and may establish a rail corridor use advisory council, referred to in this section as “a council,” to facilitate discussion, gather information and provide advice to the commissioner regarding future use of the rail corridor identified in the petition. The council shall review and make recommendations on the likelihood, benefits and costs of potential uses of the rail corridor, including, but not limited to, rail use, trail use or bikeways. Any nonrail use of a rail corridor must be considered by a council to be interim in nature, and all such rail corridors must be preserved for future rail use as provided in chapter 615.
- LD 991. Resolve, Directing the Department of Transportation To Complete a Feasibility Analysis To Initiate a Commuter and Passenger Train Service between Portland and the Lewiston and Auburn Area. “That the Department of Transportation shall conduct an economic evaluation study for commuter and passenger train service between Portland and the Lewiston and Auburn area. The study must include an economic evaluation of commuter and passenger rail service that builds upon data and potential next steps included in the Lewiston-Auburn Passenger Rail Service Plan published in May 2019. The economic evaluation must incorporate 2 of the “Full Build Preferred Alignments” contained in that report as follows: “Alignment 1A” for the Pan Am Railroad corridor; and “Alignment 1B” for the state-owned St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad corridor from Auburn to Yarmouth Junction and connecting to the Pan Am Railroad corridor from Yarmouth Junction to Portland. The department shall also conduct a high-level alternatives analysis for both rail corridors identified in this section to support selection of a preferred alignment and for comparison to other transportation connections between Portland and the Lewiston and Auburn area. The department shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over transportation matters by March 1, 2022.”
JEWELS ON THE PROPOSED NEW NECKLACE (Royal River Greenbelt):
- Yarmouth’s West Side Trail
- Yarmouth’s Royal River Park
- Yarmouth’s East Elm Street Boat Access
- Yarmouth’s Riverfront Woods Preserve
- Yarmouth’s Sweetsir Farm Preserve
- North Yarmouth’s Dunn’s Depot Royal River Boat Access (OTHP and Baston Park)
- North Yarmouth’s Old Town House Park (nearby)
- RRCT’s Dunn’s Depot Trails (nearby)
- North Yarmouth’s Chandler Brook Preserve
- RRCT’s Packard Farm Preserve (being expanded and renamed in 2021)
- Maine BPL’s Bradbury-Pineland Corridor and Pineland Public Reserved Land
- Pineland Farms
- RRCT’s Pisgah Hill Preserve (one-parcel gap)
- RRCT’s Intervale Preserve and Royal River access (nearby)
- RRCT’s Lower Village project (nearby)
- RRCT’s Big Falls Preserve (nearby)
- RRCT pdf map illustrating the assets/routes/ above. This same map is pasted above in jpg format.