A Brief Topsfield Railroad History

              In 1852 the Massachusetts legislature gave permission to the Danvers Railroad Company and the Danvers and Georgetown Railroad Company to consolidate. The result was a Danvers to Newburyport Rail Line. Operations started in 1854. Passenger service continued to Topsfield until 1950. Service for Danvers to Newburyport ended in 1941. The line was officially abandoned in 1981. What remains is a treasure. The southern half of the line is owned by the MBTA and the northern half was sold to NationalGrid in 1926. In 1955 the New England Power company granted to Topsfield the rights to use the trail portion from Washington St. approximately to the tot lot by Proctor School. MBTA portion crosses the Ipswich River and has lots of ties and track still in place. The NationalGrid portion goes from the Proctor School tot lot to Bare Hill Rd. and then by Pye Brook Community Park. The section of the trail north of Washington St. is wet from poorly maintained drainage. Past Bare Hill Rd. the trail is dry.


Our Vision

              The Topsfield Rail Trail Committee’s thoughts for what we call Topsfield Linear Common (TLC) includes a mostly stone dust surface that will provide a safe way for Topsfield’s children to go to the Proctor School and for all to get outside for recreation. The Topsfield Fair Grounds, Village Shopping Center, and Pye Brook Community Park are all “on the trail”. Our expectations for the trail is that is will become a "linear common"; a place for people to meet and greet one another while enjoying the great outdoors. We have completed 2.3 miles of trail that is very well used and enjoyed. The remaining 1.6 miles from Washington St. to the Boxford border, while it doesn’t have a finished surface like the rest of the trail, has a beautiful grassy surface with a “single track” down the center. This section is also well used.

              From where has the TLC funding come? We have never asked the Town for funding. The funding we have been successful with are the many trail users and advocates that have donated generously, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Essex National Heritage Commission amongst others. To summarize our funding and sweat equity has come from the 3 G’s. That is, grants, gifts and the generosity of volunteer time.

Topsfield Rail Trail Committee

“TLC” - Topsfield Linear Common