For the past 20 years, the Bike to the Sea organization has been working to transform 10 miles of abandoned railroad line into a bike and footpath. The railroad line, known as the Saugus Branch Railroad was founded in 1848 and connected the cites of Everett, Revere, Malden, the town of Saugus and the city of Lynn. Passenger trains ran through Saugus from the 1850s until the mid-1950s. The Saugus Branch included three stations, one in Saugus Center, one in Cliftondale, and one in Pleasant Hills. Only the Cliftondale Station remains. When I was in my twenties I would ride my motocross bike on these tracks to get from Lynn to Revere so I could race other dirt bikers on the huge sand dunes left behind in Revere when a proposed re-route of Interstate 95 never happened. On rare occasions, a freight train would pass along the same rails but the tracks have been abandoned for at least two decades.
Bike to the Sea Route
Cliftondale Station - 1853
I was very pleased when I learned that work would begin in my town on removing the old tracks during the summer months and resurfacing the 2.5 mile section of the Northern Strand Communty Trail through Saugus before the end of 2012. The trail has already been completed in Everett and most of the Malden section earlier this spring. Work will begin in Revere next year but Lynn still has not committed to do the work. Hopefully, pressure will mount on Lynn once they are the only community standing it the way of progress.
Looking north on the trail into Saugus at the Malden - Saugus line.
I took a walk over the weekend to check on the progress of the trail though Saugus. All of the track has been removed and approximately 1.5 miles is complete and functional. Another mile still needs to be resurfaced with recycled asphalt and the bridge over the Saugus River is only about 30% complete. You can cross the bridge in it's current state but there are no railings on either side.
A stand of birch trees line this section of the trail.
Unfinished section from Central Street in Saugus to the Lynn line.
Foot bridge being built over the Saugus River.
Looking east at the proposed route into Lynn.
Several photos of my walk along the trail can be viewed HERE.