From Dave Brigham:
This trestle was on my mind for years before I finally made the opportunity to meet it. I've been drawn to railroad tracks since I was a kid walking on the rails of the New York, New Haven & Hartford system that ran through my hometown of Weatogue, Connecticut. My friends and I would gather beer, soda and liquor bottles that teenagers and hobos (?) tossed down the slopes alongside the tracks, line them up on the rails and smash them with rocks. We traversed the tracks to get to a nearby convenience store and old-timey candy shop. We also tromped around by Boot Pond, which ran along the west side of the tracks, and crawled through the tunnel that drained the pond into a swamp on the east side. My first suburbex mission, when I was perhaps 14 or 15, was exploring a house near the swamp that had been abandoned with all of the owner's possessions inside (see September 20, 2011, "In Search of President Little" and February 7, 2013, "President Little, Part II: From Myth to Man").
Sometime in 2016 I realized that there were abandoned railbeds wending their way through Waltham, Watertown, Weston, Wayland and other towns near where I live (see August 1, 2016, "I Rail Against Trails (Not Really, But I Don't Every Abandoned Set of Train Tracks Converted for Cyclists and Roller Bladers"). I traced the right-of-ways on Google Maps and then sought out and explored some of them (January 5, 2017, "Brigham in Waltham, Part II"). I saw on Google that a long-abandoned trestle over Route 128/95 in Waltham led to an old right-of-way that cut behind a plywood supply company and in front of an office complex, leading to a bridge over the MBTA's Fitchburg commuter line and on in to Weston and beyond.
I kept this trail and bridge in the back of my mind for the next few years as I explored, researched and wrote up plenty of other things here. Finally, one day last fall I made time to check out the trestle. I wasn't sure, however, exactly how to get there. I drove across Route 128/95 and a little ways west on Route 20, to the complex where both Monster, Inc. and Biogen have their headquarters. There didn't seem to be any public parking there, even though the location is quite close to the trestle and a new rail trail. Then I doubled back to Route 117 and drove past the plywood supply company and the office complex mentioned above. Again, no obvious public parking. So I drove a little west on 117 and down a residential street that dead-ended near the bridge and the rail trail, but again no obvious place to park and hike in from.
So I parked near the former train station that I'd checked out as part of a long blog post about the Kendal Green historic area of Weston (see June 23, 2017, "A Walk Through Weston's History"). I should have just gone straight here, as I had a feeling this is where I was gonna end up.
(The former Weston train station. I'll come back to this at the bottom of this post.)
From the train station, I hoofed it about three quarters of a mile and finally saw the trestle that I'd seen from above on Google Maps, and that I'd dreamt about (literally) for quite some time. And it looked great.
(The trestle for the former Massachusetts Central Railroad -- also known as Central Massachusetts -- as it goes over the commuter rail tracks in Weston.)
(Looking west from the trestle at the rail trail. The trail does not continue east toward the highway. I had to step around a fence to get to this point. Yes, I know, I live dangerously.)
Having finally reached this trestle, I thought about walking back to the old train station, getting in my car and calling it a day. But I knew there was no way I was doing that. Immediately to the north of the rail trail is the Weston Transfer Station and a field with solar panels, so I knew I couldn't veer off in that direction. To the south, however, stood a small, wooded area raised above the tracks, separating the trail from a small pond on the Monster/Biogen complex, which I remembered is on the site of a former quarry. I had a hunch I'd find something up there.
It didn't take long.
I'm not sure what these rusted pipes were for, but I sure as hell figure they were related to the quarry. The rock-mining operation was run by Massachusetts Broken Stone Co., which was incorporated in 1908. The company operates quarries in Holden and Berlin, Mass. I'm not sure when the Weston hole was shut down, or when it opened, but Mass. Broken Stone began looking to redevelop the site as far back as 1986. In 2001, the company sold the land to a developer. I guess the tire came off a vehicle from the rock hole as well, many years ago.
As for this bench, which is bolted down, I suppose quarry workers took lunch and smoke breaks up here. I don't know why else it would be here. Other than thrill-seeking teenagers with their vaping paraphernalia, and yours truly, I don't think too many folks have been up here lately.
(View of the transfer station solar panel complex, as seen from the long, narrow, steep hill I explored above the rail trail.)
After skittering down the hill and back to the trail, I got this view of what's called Weston Station Pond.
(Weston Station Pond, which separates the rail trail from the Monster/Biogen office complex. I'm not sure whether this is a natural element, or something left over from the quarrying days.)
My next stop as I walked back toward the old train station was Land's Sake Farm, located just steps from the rail trail. The town of Weston purchased the farm from Harvard University in 1985. Prior to that the land was part of the Case family estate.
(Saplings at Land's Sake Farm.)
(Bee hives at Land's Sake Farm.)
(Close-up of bee hives at Land's Sake Farm.)
(Old something-or-other at Land's Sake Farm.)
I'd seen the farm, of course, on my way out to the trestle, and knew I wanted to explore. My next mini-excursion, however, was a pleasant surprise.
I love WASPs, as you know (search the blog; I'll wait. OK, all set?) I particularly love old-money blue bloods when they donate land in perpetuity for conservation. Maintained by the Weston Garden Club, the Forbes Conservation Land just off the trail was donated in 1985 by Celeste and Mac Forbes. At 2.5 acres, the site is small, but nicely maintained with paths, maps and bridges.
So who were Celeste and Mac Forbes? I have no idea. But with that name and the fact that they were in a position to donate a few acres of land, you know they were doing alright.
On the opposite side of the trail is the Sears Land.
I didn't explore this area, but I wish I had. Accessible off Crescent Street, which is how one also reaches the Land's Sake Farm, the Sears Land -- on which sits something called the Melone Homestead -- the Sears Land is small but contains some nice walking paths, dams, dried-up canals, old spillways, bridges and ruins of a factory that once made school furniture (!). Here's a video that shows you what to expect if you hike here. I plan to get there soon!
Finally, I was back at the old Weston train station.
Built in 1881 and closed in 1971, the station was once part of the Massachusetts Central Railroad and was located on a spur that split in nearby Waltham. This building is also privately owned, and may have been a home at one point. It's not very well maintained.
Here's your headline explainer: