Signs of Life on the Rail-Trail

Two weeks ago when I wrote about my adventures on the rail-trail in Mason, NH, I mentioned there were signs of life from when a railroad had used this path instead of walkers and cyclists. As I set out last week to explore the Cheshire Recreational Trail, I decided to look for signs of the life that was once here. I could not have picked a better trail.

The most obvious sign is the trail iteslf. The rails and tracks are gone but the railbed is still here. You can see in the photo above that rock had to be blasted out to allow the railbed to pass through granite outcroppings. In other areas, you can see bridges or the railbed built up to pass thjrough low lying land.

And then there were old buildings that still existed.

This was situated next to the former freight warehouse in Troy, NH, and seems to have been a work building of some sort.
This is the former train station in Fitzwilliam Depot

There were also smaller and subtler signs of the former people who lived here along the trail.

There were several quarries like this one along the trail. People removed granite from these and then the railroad shipped it to be used as building material.
There were a couple of boxes like this one along the trail. I assume they used to contain electronics for signal controls or switching.
From the stovepipe on the far side of this object, I guess it was a furnace of some sort. Perhaps there had been a building in this location.

There were smaller and more well-hidden things. I often saw granite foundations for buildings that have disappeared. There were some piles of railroad ties and even a rail or two off the side of the trail. They just don’t make for pretty pictures because they blend in too much with the local greenery.

I’ve been on a lot of rail-trails. You don’t often see this much evidence of what was here before. It all gets “cleaned up”. For me, I enjoyed seeing these relics and wondering what their use was and who came here before me. Thanks for coming along on the ride with me.

21 thoughts on “Signs of Life on the Rail-Trail

  1. photobyjohnbo

    Interesting note on finding the relics of that earlier time. You make a good point that usually those things get picked up when the trail is converted. Love that shot of the old work building.

    Reply
  2. Sandra

    What a fun ride! Beautiful pictures. Makes you wonder how some places thrive and pull through while others are abandoned and fall away. Thanks for sharing your adventure, Chris!

    Reply
    1. milfordstreet Post author

      I agree. It is intersting how some places continue to thrive and others not. I think it’s a combination of luck and ability to adapt. Thank you, Sandra. I’m glad you enjoyed the ride.

      Reply
  3. Sabiscuit

    What gorgeous photos. I live the black and white work house and the old train station building. The old train station building reminds me of the above ground rail system in Australia. The stations, when I was last there, were still housed in wooden buildings. Very nostalgic.

    Incidentally, this week, I was able to borrow a friend’s copy of a limited edition retrospective of Capa’s work in a large size magazine, which was published by Asahi Shimbun. It is astonishing how close he got to people and how widely he travelled to cover the lives of ordinary people during the war.

    Reply
    1. milfordstreet Post author

      Thank you. I really liked finding these old building. It’s unusual on one of these trails.

      Capa was amazing. I read his autobiography. He reinvented himself and tried to set his work apart from others. I really like his work. Take care.

      Reply
  4. Alexandra

    Some of these you’ve posted as single images I think, but together they are even more impactful… Lovely shots, Chris, the green in that first photo is just plain gorgeous…

    Reply
  5. Sarah

    These relics definitely make for a nice adventure and interesting photo shoot, Chris! I can’t help thinking of ‘Stand by me’ whenever I see rails, or their remains. 😂

    Reply

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