To the Editor,
I attended the Friends of Ossipee Rail Trail's (FORT) gathering recently in Center Ossipee. After talking with several people, I left with the feeling that a majority of the people who were there were in favor of the rail trail. There are many issues concerning the tracks and the trail. Comments had been made that if the trains could return, the locals would be happy to see it. Ideas were floated that the trail could be created next to the tracks, such as how it was done in Fryeburg. The issue there would be that the tracks and trail would bottleneck at a bridge, and you can't have both, unless there were new pedestrian bridges built.
I think this trail issue in Ossipee affects all residents and visitors to the Mount Washington Valley. There is a need for passenger rail between points south and here. The auto traffic just keeps getting worse. At least some of it could be made less severe with passenger rail. There are obstacles to overcome with regard to right of way ownership, squatters, the state DOT, GCOR, and the current condition of the tracks and bridges between Ossipee and Conway. Now there is a proposed rail trail where the railroad could be removed. That would sever the last connection this valley has to the south via railroad.
Locals should focus on the use of this railroad. The southern end, south of Ossipee, which is barely being used has been rebuilt and is in good shape. The other local line running to Portland has been removed for approximately 2 miles in Windham, Maine. So, if the railroad is removed in Ossipee, MWV will have no chance of returning passenger trains to the area.