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DBM

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In this case it is every single parcel from the state line to Taunton River that has lapsed property lines, so there is no "ROW" anymore. Close physical encroachers are only a fraction of the issue as it's several hundred individual property owners who would have to be dealt with. Including, at Ocean Grove, all NON-encroaching adjacent property owners.

Put it this way: the whole of 195 in MA was built with less eminent domaining 55 years ago than the much shorter-mileage Warren Branch would require today. Mostly because sticking closer to the inlets/wetlands than the population density substantially consolidated the number of total property owners they had to deal with. No such luck here.
OK, I did some Google Maps reconnoitering; here's more-or-less the spot where the ROW (or former ROW) that you're alluding to dissolves away to nothing, I think:

Sanford Road intersection, Wesport.

East of Sanford Road, it runs for 9 miles essentially due east all the way to downtown New Bedford. And at all the crossings east of Sanford Road, you see two distinct rails, with cross-ties, and the gravel bed beneath--it appears as if it could be rehabilitated to a working rail line without undue exertion. But at Sanford Road--kaput.

Right, F-Line?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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OK, I did some Google Maps reconnoitering; here's more-or-less the spot where the ROW (or former ROW) that you're alluding to dissolves away to nothing, I think:

Sanford Road intersection, Wesport.

East of Sanford Road, it runs for 9 miles essentially due east all the way to downtown New Bedford. And at all the crossings east of Sanford Road, you see two distinct rails, with cross-ties, and the gravel bed beneath--it appears as if it could be rehabilitated to a working rail line without undue exertion. But at Sanford Road--kaput.

Right, F-Line?
Wrong line. That's the Wattupa Branch you linked to, which is very much MassDOT-owned and very much under landbanking protection on its abandoned miles. Wattupa is still active for freight from the wye in downtown New Bedford to a scrap metal company at US 6/MA 88 in Westport, with Bay Colony RR usually running through Dartmouth around lunchtime on Tues. and Thurs. Past MA 88 to Plymouth Ave. in Fall River it was active until the mid-80's for the former mills in downtown. Right now it's trailed from White's of Westport to Britland Park by the former Plymouth Ave. terminus, with one of the former mill spurs also trailed under I-195 to Rodman St. This is the line that could have been a direct consolidated Fall River-New Bedford connector except for the Old Colony never finishing the half-mile gap to Fall River Depot downgrade from Plymouth Ave. The I-195 City Hall air rights now block that unfinished gap.


The Warren Branch starts here in Warren, RI at a junction with the fully RIDOT-landbanked Bristol Branch. Street View is pointing at the approx. location of the former junction, with the Bristol Branch bike path on the other side of the parking lot. Turns due east while the Bristol Branch continues south. The RI portion is fairly unencroached, with just parking lots poured on it (first couple thousand feet I think stayed active a few decades after the rest was abandoned to reach a couple freight customers in Warren). 2 blocks of it is trailed in disconnected fashion right before the state line, spanning Kickemuit River and Long Lane. ROW easily traceable in the woods for the first half-mile across the state line, then it slams headlong into encroachment at Pearse Rd. in Somerset (where there's remains of a former elevated station). Then...nonstop encroachment through Ocean Grove.

Recently closed Brayton Point power plant and I-195 construction erased most traces of the rest of the ROW from Lee River through the sweeping curve it used to make north approaching the Taunton River (although there's not any structures built atop of it here). At Walker St. in Somerset near the river you find traces of an old road overpass with industrial building blocking it. Arch St. was built over a short portion. Then when MA 103 makes its sharp turn north the ROW ran alongside it in backlots (mostly unencroached) until converging at the "rotary to nowhere" which is where the double-decker Slades Ferry Bridge crossed the river. Fall River side of the bridge is currently dead-end Remington Ave., where tracks peeled off the upper-deck of the bridge and crossed Davol St. at roughly President Ave. (today's ugly-ass MA 79 elevated highway blocking that path).


There isn't a single fungible segment of it left in MA. It's either outright blocked or legally all gobbled up by adjoining property lines in all the most critical places, leaving the wooded unencroached areas by the state line and Brayton Point without any feasible way to tie themselves back together. Even if you tried to carve a path from the border to the I-195 median missing all houses en route and find some new jumping-off point off the median near the MA 103 exit, all the ocean inlets and wetlands abutting the highway end up wrecking the insertion angles to implausibility with bad geometry. It's a goner.
 

DBM

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Wrong line. That's the Wattupa Branch you linked to, which is very much MassDOT-owned and very much under landbanking protection on its abandoned miles. Wattupa is still active for freight from the wye in downtown New Bedford to a scrap metal company at US 6/MA 88 in Westport, with Bay Colony RR usually running through Dartmouth around lunchtime on Tues. and Thurs. Past MA 88 to Plymouth Ave. in Fall River it was active until the mid-80's for the former mills in downtown. Right now it's trailed from White's of Westport to Britland Park by the former Plymouth Ave. terminus, with one of the former mill spurs also trailed under I-195 to Rodman St. This is the line that could have been a direct consolidated Fall River-New Bedford connector except for the Old Colony never finishing the half-mile gap to Fall River Depot downgrade from Plymouth Ave. The I-195 City Hall air rights now block that unfinished gap.


The Warren Branch starts here in Warren, RI at a junction with the fully RIDOT-landbanked Bristol Branch. Street View is pointing at the approx. location of the former junction, with the Bristol Branch bike path on the other side of the parking lot. Turns due east while the Bristol Branch continues south. The RI portion is fairly unencroached, with just parking lots poured on it (first couple thousand feet I think stayed active a few decades after the rest was abandoned to reach a couple freight customers in Warren). 2 blocks of it is trailed in disconnected fashion right before the state line, spanning Kickemuit River and Long Lane. ROW easily traceable in the woods for the first half-mile across the state line, then it slams headlong into encroachment at Pearse Rd. in Somerset (where there's remains of a former elevated station). Then...nonstop encroachment through Ocean Grove.

Recently closed Brayton Point power plant and I-195 construction erased most traces of the rest of the ROW from Lee River through the sweeping curve it used to make north approaching the Taunton River (although there's not any structures built atop of it here). At Walker St. in Somerset near the river you find traces of an old road overpass with industrial building blocking it. Arch St. was built over a short portion. Then when MA 103 makes its sharp turn north the ROW ran alongside it in backlots (mostly unencroached) until converging at the "rotary to nowhere" which is where the double-decker Slades Ferry Bridge crossed the river. Fall River side of the bridge is currently dead-end Remington Ave., where tracks peeled off the upper-deck of the bridge and crossed Davol St. at roughly President Ave. (today's ugly-ass MA 79 elevated highway blocking that path).


There isn't a single fungible segment of it left in MA. It's either outright blocked or legally all gobbled up by adjoining property lines in all the most critical places, leaving the wooded unencroached areas by the state line and Brayton Point without any feasible way to tie themselves back together. Even if you tried to carve a path from the border to the I-195 median missing all houses en route and find some new jumping-off point off the median near the MA 103 exit, all the ocean inlets and wetlands abutting the highway end up wrecking the insertion angles to implausibility with bad geometry. It's a goner.
Got it--extremely helpful--and how amazing that it can be photo-illustrated so helpfully by all the Google streetview grabs, of course! Thanks for the quick reply & elucidation...
 

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