Mountain Division Trail Could Be Extended To New Hampshire Border
A bill before the Maine legislature is proposing to extend the popular Mountain Division walking and biking trail In Windham and Portland from 10 miles to 52 miles.
The Mountain Division Trail is named after the rail line operated by the Maine Central Railroad that ran 131 miles from Portland to St. Johnsbury, Vermont. In 1981, the Maine Central was bought by Guildford Transportation, now Pan Am Railways and soon to be CSX, who stopped service on it from Westbrook west. The tracks and the land they sit on within Maine were purchased by the State in 1993 the State to keep the route available for any future freight or passenger service.
On the New Hampshire side of the Mountain Division, about 30 miles of track is in use by the Conway Scenic Railroad for their passenger excursions from North Conway, up through the White Mountains to Carroll ending at Fayban station.
According to the Portland Press Herald, a bill is in a legislative committee in Augusta to conduct a feasibility study into extending the trail that runs parallel to the tracks all the way to the New Hampshire border in Fryeburg and connecting the trail where there is a gap between Windham and Standish. Mountain Division Alliance President David Kinsman would also like the trail to connect with Portland. Currently its eastern most point is at Main Street in Windham Village. That's where the state owned portion of the rail begins with the remaining distance into Portland owned by the railroad.
If approved, it will take a year to complete the feasibility study clearing the way for a possible walking and biking link between Fryeburg and Portland.