Citizen advocates who worked with the Northampton residents for the Newtown Rail Trail and Penn-Tammany Greenway Coalition to build support for this section of the Newtown Rail Trail. Shown in the photo above, left to right: Nancy Sauers, Adam Spector (BCGP Member), Iris Spector (BCGP Member), Brig Masone (BCGP Member), Andrew Masone (BCGP Member), Ann Vaneerden (BCGP Member), Bob Lukot (BCGP Member), and Tom Hibbs.
On Wednesday, April 27, the official Ribbon Cutting ceremony for the Newtown Rail Trail – Phase 1 was held at the former Southampton Trail Station in Bucks County. County Commissioners representing Bucks and Montgomery counties joined PennDOT, members of the Circuit Trails Coalition and advocates for the trails among many others to celebrate the opening of the long-awaited connection between the two counties.
Highlighted in red on the map above shows the recently completed 2.54 mile County Line Rd to Bristol Rd segment of the Newtown Rail Trail. The segment is a 12-foot-wide multi-use trail that connects Tamanend Park in Upper Southampton Township to the popular Pennypack Trail in Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. Trail users can now enjoy 18.25 continuous miles from Bristol Rd in Bucks County to the Delaware River in Philadelphia!
Looking back 10 years ago, local Northampton Township residents came together with a shared vision to bridge the connection from Upper Southampton through Middletown Township into the Borough of Newtown. The vision involved building the trail along SEPTA’s former R8 Newtown / Fox Chase Rail Line which ran through 5 municipalities. In 2019, after years of waiting, Bucks County broke ground on the first section of the Newtown Rail Trail in Southampton Township.
A cooperative effort between Bucks and Montgomery counties and Upper Southampton Township allowed the project to move forward. Design costs were funded by PennDOT’s Transportation Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund, Montgomery County and the William Penn Foundation. Construction was funded through PennDOT’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program. Design and construction costs totaled about $3.1 million.
Bucks County intends to continue working on building the trail through Northampton Township and Newtown Borough. Last week, it received a federal grant to build the next phase to the Churchville Nature Center.
This project would not have been possible without the people who worked together over the years with the vision to build this connection between their communities. Thanks to the commitment and hard work from advocates (including many BCGP members) with the Friends of the Newtown Rail Trail and Penn-Tammany Greenway Coalition, the Newtown Rail Trail became a reality.