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Fitchburg Cutoff Path: Map

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Fitchburg Cutoff Path in early Fall.
The Fitchburg Cutoff Path is a short, unpaved multi-use rail trail located in suburban Boston, Massachusettsmarker.

The 0.8 mile (1.2 km) path runs from Brighton Street in Belmont, Massachusettsmarker to the Alewife stationmarker at the northern end of the MBTA Red Line in Cambridgemarker. At its Cambridge terminus, the bikeway connects with two other bike paths—the Minuteman Bikeway and the Cambridge Linear Park, which, in turn, leads to the Somerville Community Pathmarker.

The Fitchburg Cutoff Path largely runs through Alewife Brook Reservationmarker, with several side paths through the reservation leading to the Little River and a nearby industrial park. The trail heads are marked by small signs: on the east end, across the street from the Alewife station passenger pickup "kiss and ride" area, and, on the west end, just north of where the MBTA rail line crosses Brighton Street. The west end is served by the MBTA #78 bus, with a stop just south of the railroad tracks.

As of August 2009, a $4.67M upgrade for the path, including a new pedestrian bridge at Alewife, has been put up for bid, with bids due to be opened on September 15, 2009.

History

The path follows a minor portion of the right-of-way of an abandoned rail line known as the Fitchburg Cutoff or B&M Freight Cutoff (reflecting its acquisition by the Boston and Maine Railroad). The freight line linked the Fitchburg Railroad main line (now the MBTA Fitchburg Line) with the Boston and Lowell Railroad main line (now the MBTA Lowell Line) via Somervillemarker. It also crossed the Lexington and Arlington Railroad, at what is now the northwestern corner of Alewife Station. Except for deviation in the first quarter-mile east of Alewife, the right-of-way between Alewife and Davis Squaremarker became the underground Red Line extension in the 1980s. Portions of the surface between Alewife and the Lowell Line have been turned into the Cambridge Linear Park and the Somerville Community Pathmarker, and an additional portion is slated to become an extension of the the Community Path.

References

  1. Bridge work snags on link to bike path by Ben Terris and Christina Pazzanese. Boston Globe, 5 Apr 2009.
  2. Federal Aid Project No. CM-001S(980)X

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