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Air Line State Park Trail

Air Line State Park Trail


Middletown CT United States

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The Air Line State Park Trail is a rail trail and linear state park located in Connecticut. The trail is divided into sections designated South (23 miles: East Hampton to Windham), North (21 miles: Windham to Putnam), and the Thompson addition (6.6 miles: Thompson to the Massachusetts state line). An additional 3.6 mile spur to Colchester is sometimes designated as part of the Air Line trail.The United States Department of the Interior recognized the southern section of the Air Line State Park Trail as a national recreation trail in 2002.HistoryAir LineEnvisioned as a high speed passenger railroad line from New York to Boston, the New Haven, Middletown and Willimantic Railroad (NHM&W) got its name from the towering iron viaducts constructed to create a level track bed suitable for rapid travel. Opened in 1873 as part of the Boston, Hartford and Erie Railroad (BH&E) system, it ran from New Haven northeast via Middletown to the BH&E at Willimantic. The BH&E went bankrupt that same year, becoming the New York and New England Railroad (NY&NE), but the NHM&W stayed separate, failing in 1875. It was reorganized as the Boston and New York Air-Line Railroad and was operated by the New Haven from 1879, being leased on October 1, 1882. Part of this line (the NY&NE Blackstone division to Franklin via Norwood and Walpole) still survives as the Franklin Branch of the MBTA/MBCR.

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