By Sam Barron
Metro-North and the Hudson River Valley Greenway are looking for the public’s input on the Beacon Line Rail Trail.
Two public information meetings are being held, one on Monday, Nov. 13 in Pawling and one on Tuesday, Nov. 14 in Carmel to discuss the creation of the trail, which will be part of the Empire State Trail, a 750-mile bike and walking pathway from New York City to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo that hopes to be completed in 2020.
The Pawling meeting takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pawling High School Auditorium, 30 Wagner Drive, while the Carmel meeting takes place at the Putnam County TOPS Building Auditorium at 112 Route 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The trail will use a rail line that runs east-west across Dutchess and Putnam Counties. The line, known as the Beacon Line or the Maybrook Branch, connects with Metro-North’s Hudson Line at Beacon, and runs parallel with the Harlem Line north of Southeast.
Although owned by Metro-North Railroad, the line is not currently used for passenger train service.
The Beacon Line Rail Trail will be a shared-use bicycling and pedestrian path running along a 23-mile portion of the Metro-North Railroad Beacon Line Corridor from Brewster to Hopewell Junction connecting with the Dutchess Rail Trail.
One existing track along this portion of the rail line will remain intact for possible future use, and the line segment from Hopewell Junction to Beacon is not included in the proposed trail.
The proposed trail will typically be 12 feet wide and surfaced with asphalt. Appropriate treatments will be installed at all road crossings to provide safe trail use. Metro-North Railroad will oversee design and construction of the project, which is slated to start in the spring of 2019.
Construction of the Beacon Line Rail Trail will be funded by New York State, through funds administered by the Hudson River Valley Greenway as part of the larger Empire State Trail initiative.