Farmington Canal Trail
||It has been suggested that Farmington Canal State Park Trail be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since January 2013.|
The trail was built on former New Haven and Northampton Company (NH&N) (later New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad [NH]) railbed, which was constructed along the route of the Farmington Canal in Connecticut and the Hampshire and Hampden Canal in Massachusetts, respectively.
In 1821, a group of New Haven businessmen convened to construct a canal in Connecticut much like the Erie Canal that had just been completed in New York. It took ten years to complete and was open for use in 1835. Twelve years later, rail became the more cost efficient transportation option and facilitator of trade. A rail bed was put down to follow the same route that the canal had.
The line changed hands throughout its lifetime, from the NH&N, NH, Penn Central, Conrail, and finally Guilford, who abandoned the line in segments throughout the 1980s. The Connecticut Department of Transportation purchased most of the line from Guilford for railbanking purposes. In 1991, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) provided states the ability to utilize federal funds to finance the conversion of derelict railroad corridors into rail trails.
Portions of the original canal still exist, such as an historic "lock house" dating from the time of the original canal, as well as retaining walls, canal locks (elevators for boats), old sections of canal, and other features. In Cheshire, Connecticut, the only restored lock along the original Canal line has been incorporated into the Lock 12 Historical Park.
The entire route of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is not yet completed (72% in Connecticut, 47% in Massachusetts). The trail is divided into three sections:
- southern: New Haven-Plainville, Connecticut
- middle: Farmington-Suffield, Connecticut
- northern: Southwick, Massachusetts-Northampton, Massachusetts
- Farmington Canal
- Hampshire and Hampden Canal
- New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad
- New Haven and Northampton Company
- Penn Central Transportation Company
- Guilford Transportation Industries
- Farmington Canal Rail to Trail Association/Farmington Canal Trail (southern)
- Farmington Valley Trails Council/Farmington Valley Greenway (northern)
- "Enjoying the Farmington Canal Greenway". New Haven Register. 08/03/2008. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
- Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and Farmington River Trail Guide, FVTC, Tariffville, CT: 2009