Last Updated:      July 15, 2023

Length:                Mass Central Rail Trail; 4.9 miles

Difficulty:            Easy. Relatively flat, paved rail trail.


To start from the Wayland Depot parking lot (Western End); From I-90, take exit 117 to Route 30 E for 1.4 miles. Turn left (north) on Route 27 for 3.4 miles. Just after crossing Route 20 the Wayland Depot parking lot will be located on your left. 

To start from the Weston Depot parking lot (Central Section); From I-95 take exit 41 to Route 20 E for 1.7 miles. Turn right on School St which turns into Church St. After 0.4 miles bear right on a side road that leads to the old Weston Depot parking lot, just before Church St travels over the trail below.

To start from the Linden Street parking lot in Waltham (Eastern End); From I-95 take exit 41 to Route 20 E for 2.1 miles and turn left on Linden St. Just after traveling underneath the RR Bridge the parking lot will be on your left.

The Mass Central Rail Trail is a planned 104 mile trail from Northampton Massachusetts to Boston. It will follow the old Central Mass Branch of the Boston & Maine RR that ran between the two cities. The railroad split into two after the1938 hurricane shattered the line. The trail today exists in many unconnected sections and with differing surfaces. Starting from Northampton heading east the sections that are complete include the Mass Central Rail Trail; Norwottuck Branch, Mass Central Rail Trail: Belchertown , Mass Central Rail Trail; Ware River Valley Branch , Mass Central Rail Trail; Wachusett Greenway , Mass Central Rail Trail; Wayside Branch & Mass Central Rail Trail; Boston-Cambridge-Belmont . The Norwottuck Branch includes the towns of Northampton-Hadley-Amherst. The Ware River Valley Branch includes the towns of Ware-Hardwick-New Braintree. The Wachusett Greenway includes the towns of Barre-Rutland-Holden-West Boylston-Clinton. The Wayside Branch includes the towns of  Waltham-Weston-Wayland-Sudbury-Hudson . For more information check out;  MASS CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL .

This section of the Mass Central Rail Trail is part of the EAST COAST GREENWAY , a planned biking & hiking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. When complete it will traverse 15 states with a mostly off-road path.

In Northampton the Mass Central Rail Trail is a "Spoke" for 3 Trails.

  In Cambridge at Alewife T- Station, a stop on the commuter rail line into Boston is a "Hub" for 5 Trails (plus interconnecting Trails). 

Mass Central Rail Trail; Waltham-Weston Section:

The Waltham Section was still under construction as of July 2023.

Starting from Beaver Street in Waltham [Eastern End]; 

Note; Heading East a short gap exists in Waltham to the Belmont town line. Belmont's section of the Mass Central Rail Trail is currently in the design phase as of 2023. Check out; BELMONT COMMUNITY PATH to see the planned route through Belmont. 

The paved Mass Central Rail Trail travels West alongside the active RR tracks. Beaver Brook follows alongside the trail, which you cross over a couple of times. As you travel up to an old RR Trestle you'll pass by an old RR Brakeman's Warning pole. This consists of a rail in the shape of an upside down L, hanging over the center of the trail. The chains hanging down over the trail would hit the Railroad Brakeman, who was on top of the train and warn him of an upcoming bridge or tunnel. ***See; Brakeman below for history. Cross the old RR Trestle over Linden St at 0.7 miles. After crossing the bridge a wooden ramp leads down to the future Linden Street parking lot. Follow a high berm to a bridge over Beaver Brook with Lyman Pond to your right. Cross Middlesex Circle where you'll follow a shaded, residential corridor. Cross Lyman St and look right to spot an old RR Track Switcher. Some old RR tracks still alongside the trail. Travel past the Waltham Police station before crossing Lexington St at 1.3 miles where the trail follows a commercial corridor. Cross Bacon St where you'll find a small water garden (filters rain water). The trail starts up a slight incline, crossing Hammond St at 1.8 miles. Here you'll find the old Waltham Highland RR Station. Old RR tracks still here and they utilized old RR tracks as edging as well. Pass by a larger water garden as you enter a more secluded corridor. Cross prospect Hill Rd at 2.1 miles. At 2.6 miles look left to spot an old cement RR Marker reading R and just before you crest the hill another old cement RR Marker reading XC on your left. You travel down through a tunnel underneath Border Rd before coming to Hillside Rd at 3 miles and the current end of the trail.

Note; Heading West the trail is under design, as of 2023 and will take you over I-95 and a RR bridge to Weston and the completed trail.

Mass Central Rail Trail; Weston-Wayland Section:

Starting from the Waltham/Weston town Line (Central Section; Eastern End);  

Note; Heading East the trail is under design, as of 2023 and will take you over a RR bridge and over I-95 to Hillside Rd in Waltham where a short section exists. The trail is currently being extended east 3 miles through Waltham in 2023.

The paved Mass Central Rail Trail travels West through Weston from the old RR Trestle that crosses over Stony Brook and the active RR tracks. It follows an isolated, open power line corridor. Look right to spot a solar farm and left through a gap in the trees to spot Weston Station Pond. Pass an old RR Mileage Marker on your right at 0.6 miles (located every mile along the old rail bed) then cross a high berm over Cherry Brook. You then pass by the old Weston Depot parking lot before traveling underneath Church St at 0.9 miles. The trail diverts briefly off the old rail bed to avoid flooding issues before traveling through a tunnel underneath Conant Rd. You'll pass by another old RR Mileage Marker on your right at 1.6 miles before traveling underneath Concord Rd. Pass by the Jericho Town Forest parking area on your left at 2.2 miles. At 2.8 miles look right to spot an old RR rail holder. Enter Wayland and cross Plain Rd at 3.2 miles, then look left to spot an old granite RR Whistle marker. Pass another old RR Mileage Marker on your right at 3.6 miles (N88/B16; Northampton 88 miles/Boston 16 miles) followed by an old cement RR Whistle marker on your right. Cross two more roads before passing by an old RR Freight House (old RR tracks) on your left and coming to Route 27 where a cross-light takes you over to the Wayland Depot parking lot at 4.5 miles. The old RR Depot is open. Old RR tracks still in place here. The trail continues west as stone-dust. Here you'll find an old RR switcher and just after crossing the old RR tracks on your left is the remains of an old RR Turntable. Pass another old RR Mileage Marker on your right at 4.6 miles (N87/B17). To your left is an old RR R Marker? followed by another old RR Switch. Pick up a wide cement trail as you pass by a shopping plaza before coming to Route 20 after 4.9 miles and the current end of the trail.

Note; The survey work for construction of the final mile in Wayland from Route 20 to the Sudbury town line has been completed but construction is not slated until 2027. Wayland has remaining funds to rehabilitate the bridge over the Sudbury River.

Note; The 7.5 mile Sudbury to Hudson section will begin construction after Eversource has finished construction on a new underground power line which started in 2023. Possibly by 2024/25.


3 Major Trail Projects Are Under Construction In 2023

Prior to 1888 when Westinghouse developed a reliable air brake, stopping a train or a rolling car was very primitive. Iron wheels, located atop cars, were connected to a manual braking system by a long metal rod. The brakemen, usually two to a train, would ride on top of the car. On a whistle signal from the engineer, the brakemen, one at the front of the train and one at the rear of the train, would begin turning the iron wheels to engage the brakes. When one car was completed, the brakeman would jump the thirty inches or so to the next car and repeat the operation to apply the brakes on that car. The brakemen would work towards each other until all cars had their brakes applied. In good weather, the brakemen enjoyed riding on top of the cars and viewing the scenery. However, they had to ride up there in all kinds of weather - in rain, sleet, snow and ice, as well as good weather. Jumping from one car to the next at night or in freezing weather could be very dangerous, not to mention the fact that the cars were rocking from side to side. Today, a train brakeman assists the conductor by throwing switches, hooking the train cars together and ensuring the safety of the train, passengers, and freight.