"In the field" railroad history adventures...

Friday, July 29, 2022

NH to VT Rail Trail Trek (Part 1: Ashuelot Rail Trail)

 My son and I headed north. He went to Killington to lift-assisted downhill, while I rode the rail trails from north of Winchester NH to Brattleboro VT. We meant later that day at Brattleboro. It was an interesting trek!

I started at Coombs Bridge Rd a few miles north of Winchester, NH - kind of in the middle of nowhere. The trail was flat but rough and overgrown in many places--I was glad I brought my mountain bike.
Coombs Bridge Road
an old rail
I chatted with a lady with her dog in a small jeep hat I encountered on the trail
There were occasional foundation remnants along the trail...
...and bridges, updated with wood flooring planks.
It was very pretty when riding alongside the river.

The Village of Ashuelot

The train station is preserved and still standing...
I took a short detour nearby to check out the covered bridge. (I of course walked it at a slow pace :-) )

Mill Ruins

Sadly this Paper Mill was destroyed in a flood in 2005. See Paper Service Limited mill details below

Enjoy a short "one-handed" video of the ride:

At the end of the trail, I rode on--crossing the road to pick up the Fort Hill Recreational Trail.

Further Info 

1 - Trail/ Railroad History

Ashuelot Rail Trail
The 21.5-mile trail traces the corridor of the Ashuelot Railroad, which began serving the area in 1851. The Connecticut River Railroad acquired the route in 1877, and the Boston and Maine Railroad took over in 1893. It ran until 1983, helping to spark the late-19th-century manufacturing boom for mills along the river by supplying raw materials and getting products to market.

2 - Paper Service Limited Mill
The Paper Service Ltd. mill, which made tissue paper for garment and gift wrapping, was one of five paper mills that once dotted a three-mile stretch of the river. Most of them dated to the mid-1800s. This mill--active for over 100 years--shut down in October 2005 after a catastrophic flood destroyed the boiler room, caused sections of the building to collapse, and washed out ramps leading to the loading dock. Two trucks that disappeared downriver went missing for several months. It was a sad end to an innovative and both eco- and humanitarian-oriented corporation.

Paper Service Limited
- The Abridged History of Demise: One of NH's last Paper Mills
An Excellent Documentary 

‘It’s hard to talk about it’
- Story of Ashuelot’s Paper Services Ltd. comes to an abrupt end.

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