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Trail of the Month: Eastern Shore Rail Trail

Trail of the Month:  Eastern Shore Rail Trail

On February 5th of this year, VDOT convened a stakeholder meeting for the Eastern Shore Rail to Trail Study in Melfa, Virginia.  The purpose of the study is to investigate the feasibility of converting the southern portion of the inoperative Bay Coast Railroad into a paved multi-use trail from Cape Charles to Hallwood, a distance of 49 miles.

Map of the Eastern Shore Rail Trail (proposed)

Eastern Shore Rail Trail (proposed)

Source:VDOT

The trail would join together many Eastern Shore towns that grew up along the former New York, Philadelphia & Norfolk R/R.  As shown on the map below, freight and passenger service were provided to the following towns (from north to south):

Hallwood
Bloxom
Parksley
Tasley
Onley
Melfa
Keller
Mappsburg
Exmore
Nassawadox
Bird’s Nest
Machipongo
Eastville
Cobb
Cheriton
Cape Charles

 

Map of New York, Philadelphia & Norfolk Rail Road

New York, Philadelphia & Norfolk Rail Road

Source:HRTPO

Several of the old train stations survive today, such as the Parksley station shown below.

Photo of Parksley Train Station

Parksley Station

Souce: HRTPO

Rail trails are used by locals for transportation (e.g. biking) and recreation (e.g. walking, skating, biking, blading, etc.).  They also attract visitors looking for long rides.  Visitors to the proposed Eastern Shore Rail Trail would be served by the existing shops, hotels, and restaurants, such as the coffee shop shown below.

Photo of Crossroads Coffee Shop in Onley, VA

Crossroads Cofffee Shop in Onley, VA

Source: HRTPO

The proposed Eastern Shore Rail Trail with southern terminus in Cape Charles could be tied to the existing Southern Tip Trails (Phases I & II)—serving the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge and the Kiptopeke State Park—via Phase III shown below.

Map of Existing and Proposed Trails on Southern Eastern Shore

Existing and Proposed Trails on Southern Eastern Shore

Source: Google Maps

For more information about visiting the Eastern Shore:

https://visitesva.com/

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