The Cochituate Rail Trail (CRT) is a proposed multi-use trail which will extend from the Village of Saxonville in Framingham to Natick Center, a distance of 4 miles. The Framingham section of trail is almost finished. Construction was done in various phases and will be complete in the spring of 2015. The Natick section is in the planning stage with a public hearing for its design also planned for the spring of 2015.
As with most of the 1500 rail trails in the US today, the CRT will be heavily used for walking, jogging, cycling, and possibly rollerblading. Wheel chair users, dog walkers, birders, and parents pushing baby carriages will all find a home here. The CRT has the potential to become one of the most popular recreation facilities in Metrowest.
The CRT will also be heavily used for transportation. Due to its close proximity to office buildings, shopping centers, schools, and residential areas, it will provide residents with an attractive alternative to driving. A planned connection to the commuter rail station in Natick center will open the door to even greater transportation use.
Much of the trail will be quite scenic; passing near streams and wetlands in Framingham and along the shores of Lake Cochituate in Natick, the trail will be a beautiful linear park providing valuable open space through heavily developed sections of both towns.
The trail will use the Saxonville Branch rail line which travels southeast from Saxonville and joins the active Boston to Worcester commuter line in Natick Center. Built in 1846, the historic Saxonville Branch was used to construct the dam for Lake Cochituate, which supplied water to the City of Boston from 1848 to 1951. The line also serviced the textile mills of Saxonville until 1973.
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