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6th Annual Franklin & Bellingham Fives Road Race

5K or 5 mile run or 1.5 mile walk

Saturday, May 14, 2016
Remington Middle School • 628 Washington Street Franklin, MA

 

Register Now!

 

Run-5k or 5 mile Courses through residential neighborhoods on paved roads. 1.5 mile walk through residential neighborhoods. Help support our effort to develop the Southern New England Trunkline Trail into a multi-use path for Franklin and Bellingham. Post race refreshments. Prizes awarded by category. T-shirts to the first 150 entrants. Participation Medals & raffle prizes and DJ at the site for your enjoyment.

Event details and schedule
T-shirts to the first 150 entrants. Prizes awarded by category. Post race refreshments. Race timing by Spitler Race Systems.

  • Registration: 8:30 – 9:45 AM
  • Start Time: Walk 9:45 AM / Run 10:00 AM
  • Start / Finish: 628 Washington St. Franklin, MA (Remington School )
  • Run – 5K & 5 mile course through residential neighborhoods
  • 1.5 mile walk through residential neighborhoods
  • Entry Fee: $25 prior to race day, $30 day of the race, $15 Students
  • The SNETT is an abandoned rail bed running from Franklin to the CT line

Register Now!

Directions

The Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT) begins on Grove Street in Franklin, MA and travels 23 miles through the towns of Blackstone, Millville, Uxbridge and Douglas into Thompson CT. Below are directions to the trail head in Franklin (parking available).

From North:

I-495 North to exit 16. Take a left at the end of the ramp. Travel straight through 2 traffic lights aprox 1 mile on King Street and continue onto Washington Street for .7 miles through 1 traffic light. Take a right onto Grove Street. Rail Trail parking will be .4 miles on your right. Trail is on left side of street.

From South:

I-495 South to exit 16. Take a right at the end of the ramp. Travel straight through 2 traffic lights aprox 1 mile on King Street and continue onto Washington Street for .7 miles through 1 traffic light. Take a right onto Grove Street. Rail trail parking will be .4 miles on your right. Trail is on left side of street.

Join & Support

As a supporter, you are a vital part to developing the the Southern New England Trunkline Trail trail into a multiuse, universally accessible recreational path.

 

In addition to voting privileges at meetings, members can receive:

  • Advanced notice of trail events, meetings, and agenda
  • Updates on important trail news and developments
  • 10% off parts and accessories at Crossing Cycle (Cottage Street, Franklin, MA)

To join as a member or support us, please complete the online form and payment with PayPal or download a form and mail a check.

Renew Online (with PayPal)

Join or Support By Mail (download pdf)

 

Membership and donations are fully tax deductable.
The Franklin & Bellingham Rail Trail Committee is
a 501(c)3 organization.

 

Brief History of Franklin & Bellingham Railtrail

1826 - The Granite Railway was incorporated in Massachusetts and is popularly termed the first commercial railroad in the United States. Its wooden rails were laid on stone crossties 5 feet apart and were plated with iron. The railroad ran 3 miles from a quarry in Quincy to a dock on the Neponset River in Milton. Horses were used to pull the wagons along the rails.

In 1847, which was 13 years before the American Civil War, the Norfolk County Railroad was chartered to bring rail service to this part of Massachusetts. By 1849, tracks had been laid on the 17.5 miles stretch of the rail bed from Walpole to Blackstone and the first passenger train steamed west from Boston. The Norfolk Country Railroad employed many Irish Catholic immigrants to lay track, and to do other back breaking tasks. These immigrant laborers were the first Roman Catholics in the town of Franklin, and helped to found St. Mary's Parish in later years.

The Norfolk County Railroad was merged with the Boston and New York Central Railroad in 1854, and 9 years later in 1863 was acquired by the Boston, Hartford and Erie Railroad. When the Boston, Hartford and Erie Railroad folded during the disastrous 1873 Wall Street panic, the railroad was reorganized as the New York and New England Railroad. During the heyday of the NY & NE, a speedy passenger express train ran between Boston and New York in less than six hours, an astonishingly direct and fast route for the time. The new passenger train had started running in 1884, but it gained a new nickname in 1891 when the new, white cars were introduced to the line. Onlookers dubbed it the "Ghost Train" and it only ran till 1895.

arrwhite ghost train stopped thompson ct 1891

White Ghost Train Photo at Thompson CT.

The name of the railroad was shortened to the New England Railroad in 1895, but three years later the company was taken over by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (often simply called the New Haven) - one of the rail giants of New England - and the line on which you are standing was renamed the Midland Division. During the early 1900s, the Midland Division became a vital route by which the City of Boston was supplied with fresh milk each morning. After loading up thousands of jugs of milk from farms in far off Willimantic and Norwich, Connecticut the daily milk train would rumble up the line to Boston, picking up more milk along the way from communities such as Millville and Franklin. Dairy farmers needed to get up early each morning to milk their cows, but it was a matter of surviving. Without the milk train in the wee hours of the morning, they would not be able to sell their milk. Almost all dairy farmers on the Midland Division sold their milk to a major distributor. There were 5 major distributors for the city, each dominating a different rail line; but the one that mattered on the Midland Division was the Elm Farm Company.

The New Haven owned and operated this line for more than half a century. By the 1950s, however, the railroad was facing fierce competition from passenger automobiles and new semitrailers carrying freight on the highways. To make matters worse, heavy rains and high winds of Hurricanes Connie and Diane in 1955 knocked out bridges along the length of the rail line, and it was simply too expensive to rebuild them all. Thus, passenger service beyond Blackstone, Massachusetts came to an end and in 1966; the last passenger train ran between Boston and Blackstone. At last in 1968, the New Haven went out of business and its locomotives, railcars, and rail lines were acquired by the Pennsylvania Central Railroad.

Penn Central ran passenger trains to the current day Franklin-Dean College station through the early 1970s; but it was expensive to keep passenger trains running on schedule, especially with ridership at low ebb. Gasoline was cheap, and almost everyone had a car. There was no need- it seemed- to keep the trains running. Passenger service had ended beyond Franklin, and the Midland Division had been largely abandoned.

Then, in 1976, Penn Central went out of business. Worried that all the large railroads on the east coast would die out, the federal government combined Penn Central and other dying railroads to keep passenger and freight services going. The new company was known as Consolidated Rail or Conrail. But this merger came too little, too late to save the old Midland Division. What was left of the old dairy and passenger route was finally abandoned and ceded to the Mass Department of Environmental Management in 1984. The below DCR sign can be found at the head of the (SNETT) Southern New England Trunkline Trail on Grove St. in Franklin MA.

DCR photo at Grove Street Railtrail

Sign and Information Kiosk at Grove St. Franklin MA

See a brief history of Wadsworth Village which was a stop on the railroad between Franklin & Bellingham MA.

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