A Brief Topsfield Railroad History

             In 1852 the Massachusetts legislature gave permission to the Danvers Railroad Company and the Danvers and Georgetown Railroad Company to consolidate. The result was a Danvers to Newburyport Rail Line. Operations started in 1854. Passenger service continued to Topsfield until 1950. Service for Danvers to Newburyport ended in 1941. The line was officially abandoned in 1981. What remains is a treasure. The southern half of the line is owned by the MBTA and the northern half was sold to NationalGrid in 1926. In 1955 the New England Power company granted to Topsfield the rights to use the trail portion from Washington St. approximately to the tot lot by Proctor School. MBTA portion crosses the Ipswich River and has lots of ties and track still in place. The NationalGrid portion goes from the Proctor School tot lot to Bare Hill Rd. and then by Pye Brook Community Park. The section of the trail north of Washington St. is wet from poorly maintained drainage. Past Bare Hill Rd. the trail is dry.


Our Vision

             The Topsfield Rail Trail Committee’s thoughts for what we call Topsfield Linear Common (TLC) includes a mostly stone dust surface that will provide a safe way for Topsfield’s children to go to the Proctor School and for all to get outside for recreation. The Topsfield Fair Grounds, Village Shopping Center, and Pye Brook Community Park are all “on the trail”. Our expectations for the trail is that is will become a "linear common"; a place for people to meet and greet one another while enjoying the great outdoors. We are nearly finished with the design of Phase IA (from Main to Washington Streets). We hope construction will take place in the spring of 2009.     

             From where will the TLC funding come? We do not anticipate asking the Town for funding. There are many funding sources which we will vigorously pursue, including the (TEA-21) Federal Transportation Bill, Urban Self Help grants from the Commonwealth’s Department of Conservation Services and assistance from the U.S. Park Service. See the Current Status for more information. Your Rail Trail Committee has so far secured $92,000 in grants that require a match of  $24,500. This match will come from the 3 G’s. That is, grants, gifts and the generosity of volunteer time.

Topsfield Rail Trail Committee

“TLC” - Topsfield Linear Common