Many of us ride our trikes on former railroad property which has been converted over from “rails to trails”. It is a good use for the land that otherwise just sits there going to waste, not being used for anything. The neat thing about rail trails is that most abandoned railroad corridors are quite long so a trail could go on for a very long distance. And for those who are not crazy about hill climbing railroads were built with limited grades for the trains to deal with so trails that are built on the railroad corridors don’t have any steep hills. I think a 2 % grade is typical for railroad corridors.
Of course, the railroad companies don’t usually give the land away. They sell it and it can get quite expensive. Building trails is quite expensive not taking into account purchasing the land involved.
With one exception all of our local trails where I live are not rail trails. One is a rail trail however and it is a great trail. It is even named after something to do with railroads. Years ago steam locomotives ruled the rails. They were affectionately nicknamed “Pufferbellies”. Our local rail trail is called the Pufferbelly Trail. There are not any pufferbelly trains running on it anymore but it quickly became the most used trail among the several different trail offerings we have here in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area. It is not completed yet. It still has a few miles to be paved on the north end of it as well as a few at the south end to connect to the section already built to the south. Our local trail, the Pufferbelly Trail, is part of a much longer trail yet to be built which when finished will be approximately 90 miles long connecting the Ouabache State Park near Bluffton, In. in the south to Pokagon State Park north of Angola, In. near the Michigan State Line. Our local trail will be about 13 miles long when completed. Right now I think about 7 miles is completed. More will be built to the north this year.
Oops, I guess I was wrong. Here comes a pufferbelly train now. Don’t worry, I don’t think it can get past the bollard …
I just had to have some photo editing fun.
In all seriousness, a group known as Rails to Trails Conservancy has a Facebook page you might enjoy checking out.
They also have a website. Click HERE to visit it.
Here is their stated mission: “At Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, we are building a nation connected by trails. We reimagine public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors.”
One rail trail which is quite intriguing is the Great American Rail Trail which when completed will span all the was across the nation … from Washington State to Washington, D.C.
On a personal note, I have ridden on a few rail trails and found that they can be great trails to ride on. However, I have also ridden on some that are lousy … worse than driving on the interstate thru Kansas … just straight with no shade trees and quite boring. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for building trails using railroad corridors. They help us to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
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