The Casco Bay Trail supports trains + trails.
The Casco Bay Trail Alliance supports both trains and trails. Advancing both public purposes is possible, because the most logical corridors for expanded train service are different from the most logical corridors for rail trails.
There are many good reasons for prioritizing the active blue corridors for trains.
Amtrak and CSX already collaborate to provide both freight and passenger train service between Massachusetts and Maine on the navy blue CSX-owned train line.
South of Portland, the old Eastern Railroad corridor (solid green) is no longer used by trains and has been repurposed as a rail trail. By prioritizing corridors, we were able to accomplish both public purposes, trains and trails, through these communities.
The same could be done by prioritizing corridors north of Portland.
The royal blue corridors at the top of the map are actively used by trains, but nowhere near their capacity. They could easily accommodate expanded freight and/or passenger services between Boston, Portland, Lewiston-Auburn, Waterville, Bangor, and Montreal.
The dotted green line is no longer used by trains and has no continuing connectivity beyond Portland. Because it covers the same geography as the still-active train corridors, we propose prioritizing it as a rail trail — the centerpiece of the Casco Bay Trail loop.
Since there is no impending train use on the eastern (dotted green) corridor in any of the state or regional long-range transportation plans, the Casco Bay Trail Alliance strongly recommends prioritizing corridors, rather than imposing the additional costs, engineering challenges, and environmental complications of “rail with trail.”