Rails with trails

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Rail with trail, Switzerland

Rails with trails (RWT) are a small subset of rail trails in which a railway right-of-way remains in use by trains yet also has a parallel recreational trail. Hundreds of kilometers of RWTs exist in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Western Australia.[1]

United States[edit]

In the United States the number of rails with trails is increasing. As of 2000, there were 1,000 rail trails in operation nationwide, with a total length of about 17,750 km /11,029 mi. Of those, 60 (387 km/240 mi) were rails with trails, up from 37 (246 km/152 mi) in 1996.[1] Thus, on average United States rail trails are 11 miles (18 km) long, but the small minority of rails with trails are 4 miles (6.4 km) long.

United States rails with trails

United States rails with trails with articles on Wikipedia:


Bicycle and freight train

A 1997 study of the feasibility of rails with trails identified a need for guidelines concerning RWT crossings, fencing, setbacks, and other items. These guidelines were developed in the form of Rails-with-Trails: Lessons Learned,[1] which finds that "well-designed RWTs meet the operational needs of railroads, often providing benefits in the form of reduced trespassing and dumping. A poorly designed RWT will compromise safety and function for both trail users and the railroad."[2]

A 1996 study[3] of safety on rails with trails in the United States evaluated 37 existing RWTs in 16 states and concluded that "active railroad lines can function with an adjacent pedestrian, horse, and bike path without problem" and RWTs are "no more dangerous than rail-trails alone or next to busy streets."

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Rails-with-Trails: Lessons Learned: Literature Review, Current Practices, Conclusions. US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. August 2002. FTA-MA-26-0052-04-1. 155 pages.
  2. ^ FHWA2002, page VII
  3. ^ Results of questionnaire on Rails WITH Trails safety, Patrick Kraich, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, 1996
  • Rails-with-Trails: Design, Management, and Characteristics of 61 Trails along Active Rail Lines (Morris, 2000).