Braving a blustery morning and donning only a few hand tools and some bottles of water, SCA Manchester returned to Rockingham Rail Trail to continue removing rail-ties from the city owned portion of trail. We were joined by two volunteers who generously donated and their fork-laden tractors.
As two students were interviewed on the public access channel the rest enjoyed sipping coffee and wading through the many choices of donated Dunkin’ Donuts, arranged by Real Pinard.
After our stretch circle and safety discussions it was time to begin the day. Unlike our previous visit we dragged the ties from the disarray on the sides of the trail to form many small piles as we went, to be picked up en masse by the volunteers and their equipment. The area the Crew Leaders had expected to be covered over the entire day was quickly finished in less than two hours.
We continued making small piles down the trail, continuing to make small stacks the entire way.
On our way back to the vans for lunch we were impressed to find that we had just cleared a section of trail that, even with the incentive of food at the other end, took five minutes to walk.
Two hundred rail ties. We had beaten our record from the previous Saturday by forty ties and it was only lunch.
A few more donuts and some sack lunches, and then back to the rail ties.
We continued pushing farther and farther down the trail, removing the creosote-laden ties from adjacent wetlands, dragging the heavy lumber up the embankment.
By days end we had handled roughly six hundred rail ties, laid out and ready to be removed. We walked back to our vans past our work. Ironically, the trail was looking more like we were constructing a railroad than removing one, all of the ties laid out along the trail, stretching just around the bend.
Most of those ties are gone now. This section of what was the B&M Railroad’s Plymouth Branch looks much differently than it did when constructed in 1862. There are still traces of a rich history for those who enjoy the trail, but the rail ties strewn about the edges of the trail are gone now, and the creosote soaked ties are no longer in the wetland.