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Swampscott Rail Trail

The Swampscott Rail Trail will be a 2-mile linear park throughout the town for every neighborhood, every resident, and every age. In addition to providing a safe, healthy corridor connecting the whole town, the Rail Trail is a key regional link and segment of the East Coast Greenway, extending the greenway connection from the Northern Strand Trail in Everett, Revere, Malden, Chelsea, and Lynn to greenway in Marblehead, Salem, and Peabody.

Background: After years of advocacy, study, and planning, in 2017, Swampscott’s Town Meeting overwhelmingly approved $850,000 to hire an engineering firm to complete the trail design and engineering and to acquire the rights to a permanent recreational easement along the National Grid utility corridor. Swampscott has completed design and engineering of all segments of the trail and the project is shovel ready. The first segment of trail, connecting Swampscott to the Marblehead Trail was constructed in under a month during summer 2020 providing much appreciated open space for physical activity. Construction funding is being sought for the rest of the project segments.

1960Marblehead railroad branch shut down
1970sResidents form a Bike Path Committee
1999Nonprofit Swampscott Partnership Rails into Trails founded
2002Town Meeting votes to create a Rail Trail Study Committee
2005Based on the feasibility study, Town Meeting authorizes a recreational easment along the corridor and creates the Rail Trail Implementation Committee
2006 Town Meeting confirms the authorization for a recreational easement for the Rail Trail
2009 Town Meeting further confirms the authorization for a recreational easement for the Rail Trail
2013The Rail Trail is identified as a priority in the 2013 Open Space & Recreation Plan
2014 Town commences discussions with National Grid representatives
2015 Town continues discussions with National Grid representatives
2016 The Rail Trail is identified as a priority in the new Master Plan; title work is performed for the corridor properties; initial site assessment is performed
2017 Town Meeting overwhelming approves (by a vote of 210 to 56) a warrant article requesting $850,000 to be used for the design and engineering of the trail location as well as the legal fees and costs for the acquisition of the easement rights.
2017 A group of anti-trail abutters secured signatures in order to require a town-wide vote on whether or not to approve Town Meeting’s overwhelming vote in support of the Rail Trail. The town wide election was held on Thursday, June 29, 2017 and Swampscott re-affirmed the Town Meeting Vote, voting YES by a margin of 12%.
2017 – presentThe Town hired engineering firm Stantec to design the trail and work with the newly formed Rail Trail Design and Construction Advisory Committee. The Department of Community Development staff meets with trail neighbors to discuss construction easements and privacy screening.
2019Permitting and fundraising begin
2020With support from MassTrails, the Solomon Foundation, and other private donors the first segment of the trail is built
2020Swampscott receives funding for the second segment of the trail through MassDOT’s Shared Streets Emergency Recovery grant program

Project Details

  • 1970s
Solomon and Barr Investments
  •  $40,000
Partner Investments
  • $1,100,000
Estimated Cost to Complete
  • TBD
Key Partners

• First segment built, funds for second segment secured,  fundraising for remaining segments continues.


Master map page

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