The Department of Transportation plans to complete 104 miles of The Massachusetts Central Rail Trail (MCRT), extending from Boston to Northampton. Over the past 40 years, 53 miles have already been completed, of which the Norwottuck rail trail is the westernmost segment. Twenty-two additional miles are slated to be finished by the end of 2024. The remaining 29 miles will be the most expensive to complete because they contain five previously removed railroad bridges that need to be rebuilt and a 1000 foot tunnel that needs reconstruction, along with some private property that needs purchase or an easement.
Mass Department of Transportation and Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation have selected Kittelson & Associates of Boston to do a feasibility study and impact statement for the remaining gaps in the trail. In conjunction with Kittelson & Associates, the local nonprofit, the Norwottuck Network is sponsoring a survey to gather public input of rail trail users and potential users at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MCRTSurvey.
There are 17 other bicycle, hiking, or multi-use trails in the vicinity of Northampton which will connect with MCRT. When completed, the MCRT will connect 26 communities from Boston to Northampton.
The Massachusetts Central Rail Trail follows the route of the Massachusetts Central Railroad than ran from downtown Boston to Union Station in Northampton until it was destroyed by the 1938 hurricane. Calvin Coolidge used to commute to the State House on this train when he was governor of the state after World War I.