Who Owns the Clinton Tunnel?

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trainsinmaine
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Who Owns the Clinton Tunnel?

Post by trainsinmaine » Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:21 am

The Clinton Tunnel was abandoned by the B&M in 1959 and the Wachusett Reservoir Viaduct was razed in 1975. Who currently owns the tunnel and the ROW from its east portal to West Berlin? Is it the property of Pan Am, Pan Am Southern, the Central Mass. Rail Trail group, or none of the above?

The EGE
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Re: Who Owns the Clinton Tunnel?

Post by The EGE » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:29 pm

The land above the tunnel west of Wilson Street is owned by the Metropolitan Water District, as are several parcels between there and West Berlin. The ROW between Wilson and West Ledge does not have any listed owner on either town or state assessor maps, as does much of the ROW in Berlin. (East of Berlin is unambiguously owned by the MBTA per the 1976 sale.)

Most surrounding parcels (mostly swamp) are owned by the towns. However, some state-owned parcels (like 495) are also not listed on the assessor maps. So it's a toss-up whether the towns or the state effectively own the ROW. When a younger and less cautious EGE walked into the tunnel some years back, both local cops and a statie from the reservoir showed up. (Upon finding out that I was a clueless railfan rather than a teenager with a spray can, they ran my license for warrants and told me to be more careful.)

West of the reservoir, ownership is similarly complicated. Some town parcels, some DCR, some larger stretches in private hands, and many bits chopped up for subdivisions. The sections converted to trail are mostly DCR-owned.

edbear
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Re: Who Owns the Clinton Tunnel?

Post by edbear » Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:21 pm

I managed B & M property records 1973-1985 and the 12/27/1976 MBTA purchase of the Central Mass. ended at the end of track in Berlin. West of the end of track, whatever land had not been sold off was still owned by the B & M. Never paid to much attention to the tunnel as it wasn't usable for much of anything except at tunnel.

NRGeep
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Re: Who Owns the Clinton Tunnel?

Post by NRGeep » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:19 pm

Is the new bike trail going to bypass the tunnel or use it?

SpiderHill
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Re: Who Owns the Clinton Tunnel?

Post by SpiderHill » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:11 pm

Pan Am/Boston and Maine Corporation still owns the tunnel and most of the ROW from Berlin to at least route 70. I attended an event a few years ago for the Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust and at that time they had recently engaged with Pan Am about acquiring the balance of the ROW. They had survey documents and plot plans that Pan Am provided to CGCT and attendees were available to review them. There has been a couple area of the ROW that were sold to adjacent land owners. I can think of three places all of which are on the Berlin town line end of town. I also believe in the last few years Roux Garage just over the town line in Berlin purchased a piece of land from Pan Am. I remember seeing that real estate transfer public notice in the newspaper.

Back to the tunnel, I remember reading an article in the Worcester Telegram or Clinton Item within the last year or so about the CGCT close to being able to make a purchase of the remaining ROW in Clinton. There were concerns over the tunnel condition/safety and it was proposed purchasing everything except the tunnel. Pan Am as would be expected told the CGCT it would be all or nothing. I went searching for the article but could not find it as there is a paywall for these newspapers. I did find this article:

https://www.telegram.com/item/20190308/ ... rd-support

This isn't the article I was looking for but it should help.

Here is the website for CGCT. The homepage lead item indicates they are planning to make a purchase next year.

http://clintongreenway.com/index.shtml

SpiderHill
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Re: Who Owns the Clinton Tunnel?

Post by SpiderHill » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:44 pm

The EGE wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:29 pm
West of the reservoir, ownership is similarly complicated. Some town parcels, some DCR, some larger stretches in private hands, and many bits chopped up for subdivisions. The sections converted to trail are mostly DCR-owned.
West of the the reservoir from where the trestle was (near the Wachusett Reservoir dam) nearly all the ROW is intact up to route 110. There was a wye on the end where the Central Mass connected to the WN&P, the current day Pan Am Worcester Main. The north leg of the wye is long gone. This leg would have been used to bring trains into Clinton proper. The middle school and athletic fields are built on the most of the wye in this location. The southern leg can be walked on right up to the Worcester main. As far as ownership goes, east of 110 is the reservoir "North Dike" area. I would assume the state at some point acquired this ROW. Just across 110 on the west side, there is a very short section of ROW that brings you up to the Worcester main. This Town of Clinton acquired this parcel from Pan Am/B&M a few years back. This property abuts the new town cemetery. I recall reading this in the property transfers in the newspaper. Back in the day, the Central Mass would continue along with the WN&P to Oakdale. In Oakdale, the current day Mass Central Rail Trail begins and goes west. I am not familiar with any of the ownership west of Oakdale.

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RussNelson
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Re: Who Owns the Clinton Tunnel?

Post by RussNelson » Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:27 am

When I walked through it, I attracted no (obvious) attention.

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