HANOVER BRANCH RAIL TRAIL:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: October 12, 2013
Length: Rockland Rail Trail; 1 mile
Abington Rail Trail; 1.4 miles
Difficulty: Rockland Rail Trail; Easy. Flat hard packed gravel rail trail.
From Route 3 take exit 14 to Hingham St south. Turn right when you reach Webster St and follow to Union St. Turn left and travel 0.3 miles to Water St. Just past Water St turn left into a small plaza. Park on the left where you'll spot the trail as it passes through town. The town is actively seeking to build a dedicated trail parking lot off Market St near the Police Dept.
The Rockland Rail Trail follows an old RR corridor of what was once known as the Hanover Branch Line. The line was built in the 1860s by E. Y. Perry, a Hanover businessman who produced tacks. The railroad originally ran between Hanover Four Corners and North Abington before becoming part of the Old Colony Line in 1887. The towns of Abington (to the west) and Hanover (to the east) also have portions of the old rail bed pass through their towns but have not yet committed to developing a rail trail.
Starting from Union Street;
Heading West; Follow the blue cross-walk over Union St to the trailhead. All trailheads are marked by signs reading "Trail Rules". The crushed gravel trail heads into the woods and follows a residential corridor. Pass by the sports fields of Rockland High School before a cross-walk over Route 139. Use Caution; Busy roadway. After 1 mile the trail currently ends at the Abington town line where you'll still find the old RR tracks in place.
Abington has completed their section of the rail trail and dedicated it in Sept. 2014. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet.
Heading East; The trail travels between some old RR tracks before heading into the woods along a crushed gravel surface. Just before crossing over Howard St spot an old RR marker with an A on it to your right. This was an Approach sign which let the conductor know to be prepared to stop. . Cross Vernon St and keep an eye to your left for an old Whistle stop marker at 0.5 miles. These let the trains know to blow their Whistles before a road crossing. Use Caution crossing busy Route 123. The trail then passes by the Rockland Police Dept before becoming a bit more isolated. The trail currently ends after 1.4 miles at the Hanover town line where you'll still find the old RR tracks in place.
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BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE
WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER
BIKE IT OR HIKE IT