Proposed Casco Bay Trail. Contributed / Casco Bay Trail Alliance

The Yarmouth Town Council voted unanimously last week to support a “trail until rail” from Portland to Auburn and to recommend the Legislature authorize the recreational pathway.

The trail is part of a 72-mile loop proposed by the Casco Bay Trail Alliance. The portion of the trail that would run through Falmouth, Cumberland and North Yarmouth in addition to Yarmouth would be built on the 26-mile Berlin Subdivision Rail Corridor along the unused St. Lawrence and Atlantic Rail line between Portland and Auburn. The Berlin corridor also passes through Pownal and New Gloucester.

A state Rail Use Advisory Council has recommended to the Maine Department of Transportation a trail until rail authorization, meaning the unused rail corridor would be transformed into a walking and biking trail until the state has use for the rail lines.

“Then it would have to be surrendered or shared with rail service,” Yarmouth Town Manager Nat Tupper said. “The state would not be giving up its rail opportunity.”

The Maine Department of Transportation is interested in hearing from communities along the corridor.

“We are having discussions with all the towns on the corridor and towns that aren’t on the corridor but who will benefit greatly from having this amazing opportunity,” Casco Bay Trail Alliance President Sue Ellen Bordwell said.


If the DOT agrees to the trail until rail resolution, the plan will then go to the Legislature for approval.

“We have a long way to go here,” Tupper said.

At a public hearing on the trail until rail resolution held in Cumberland last December, attendees were divided. Some favored the trail for its recreational opportunities and as a connector between the towns, but others argued that removing a potential rail line would be a disservice to the state.

Bordwell said that she is under the impression the DOT would pay for the construction of the trail, but the towns would be responsible for yearly maintenance.

“It’s MDOT’s trail and it’s their decision,” Bordwell said.

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