Creative Reassembling of Former Railroad Corridors

Has the idea of a trail built upon a former railroad or former trolley corridor been proposed in your town but never got built because of a gap? Or perhaps the gap prevents a longer, more useful trail? This webinar serves as a good starting point for such a project.

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Event Details

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February 23, 2017

10:30 AM to 12:00 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:30 AM to 01:00 AM (Mountain Time)
12:30 PM to 02:00 AM (Central Time)
01:30 PM to 03:00 AM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers


Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
Learning Credits are NOT available for this webinar.

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Webinar Outline



A. Southern New England and Eastern New York have the nation’s densest network of former steam railroad corridor and former electric trolley corridor. Nowhere else in the U.S. has this kind of inventory so to speak.

We’ll start with a primer on former on steam railroad corridor vs trolley corridor and the primary differences and difficulties in piecing together one versus the other.

• How did the corridors get segmented or chopped-up in the first place? And how much is segmented?

• Is there is a program to preserve former railroad or trolley corridor?

B: How to reassemble former corridors

• LOCAL TRAIL ADVOCACY GROUPS— AKA FRIENDS GROUPS are one option to piece together sections or reassemble corridor.

• Another option is to create a LAND ACQUISITION VEHICLE. And once you have a success or two, teach other groups how to duplicate it.

• Use the MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE commonly available to Real Estate professionals to reassemble pieces of corridor.

C: In order to do this, in many cases, you’ll need to enlist non-traditional allies.

• LAND TRUSTS - The land trust movement in the U.S. started in Massachusetts and though they’ve been focused on, historic properties, farms, view sheds, forests and other notable geographical features, there are now plenty of examples of land trusts helping to reassemble linear corridors. In many places, these corridors provide a connection between the land trusts more traditional holdings.

• UTLITIES - Private sector utilities may provide a connection too. In fact, in Massachusetts the utilities own more miles of former railroad corridor than the railroads do. The world has indeed turned upside down.

• TRANSIT AGENCIES - Transit agencies have a role here too. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority— the MBTA or “T” is actually the 2nd largest landowner in the state. Most of what they own is former railroad corridor.

• REALTORS - Build allies in the world of real estate professionals.

• ROTARY CLUBS and other civic organizations are where the local conversations start.

• I will teach you how to get to the table with these non-traditional allies, and how to get them on board with your project by showing successful strategies others have employed.


Webinar Partners


Craig Della Penna, Associate Broker, The Murphys Realtors, Trailside Team
Northampton, Massachusetts

Craig Della Penna is the Executive Director with Norwottuck Network, an Associate Broker with The Murphys Realtors, Trailside Team, as well as the Owner of Sugar Maple Trailside Inn in Florence, MA.

For 12 years, Craig marketed rail freight and operated New England’s largest and most successful railroad-owned, transloading facility—Railroad Distribution Services, Inc. For seven years, he worked for Rails to Trails Conservancy as their New England Field Representative focusing on the policy end of building rail trails as well as public outreach. Today he is a successful Realtor, the fist realtor in the US specializing in the sale of property near to rail trails.

Having given well over 1,200 lectures in 21 states and Canadian provinces, Craig is one of the countries most sought after motivational speakers on the economic development, tourism, and community development aspect of rail-trails, and their leveraging small amounts of public dollars to redevelop forgotten or derelict lands into treasured places. He is also the author of five books and numerous op-ed/guest editorials on the value of smart growth development, and rail-trails. In their 10th anniversary issue, THE RIDE MAGAZINE named him as the most effective advocate for rail-to-trail conversions on the eastern seaboard. He has also written the forward to three other books on rail trails and has been featured as a case-study in five books for, creative marketing, 21st century branding, etc.

He and his wife Kathleen, operate an award-winning bed & breakfast in a restored, Civil War era house where the restoration was so extreme, it was featured on HGTV. The house sits 8 feet from one of the earliest muni-built rail trails in New England. And within 150 miles of his house sits the densest network of former steam RR corridor in the US. He also is reassembling the longest rail trail in the Northeast. The Mass Central Rail Trail, which runs 100+ miles from Boston to Northampton, Mass. This directly connects with 17 other trails over the 104+ miles. And he publishes the most widely read, free monthly eNewsletter about trails.


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1,217 views • posted 01/31/2018