Rail Trail advocates outlined an ambitious project

Rail Trail advocates outlined an ambitious project to build a new trail that would run from St. Johnsbury to Whitefield, N.H., during this week’s legislative breakfast in St. Johnsbury.  The connection would be made via the long dormant Twin State Railroad line that begins near the old Ide Building on Bay Street in St. Johnsbury, crosses the Passumpsic River via the train trestle just north of Veteran’s Memorial Bridge and parallels Route 2 through East St. Johnsbury and Concord until it reaches the shore of Miles Pond at which point it cuts cross country to East Concord, past the old Gilman Paper Mill and across the Connecticut River to Dalton, and ending in Whitefield. The rail line hasn’t been used for more than 20 years. The section of rail line from Whitefield to the Gilman mill, including the existing trestle across the Connecticut, was previously purchased by the NH Department of Transportation. The rest of the line from Gilman to St. Johnsbury is privately owned by rail company CSX. The Twin State Rail Trail project fits into a much larger effort envisioned by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a national advocacy group that promotes trail development. The Twin State Rail Trail is designated as part of the hoped-for New England Rail-Trail Network, an interconnected system of multiuse trails that would connect all of New England  through the six states using existing trail systems.