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The Cheney Rail Trail follows part of the corridor of the South Manchester Railroad, built by the Cheney brothers in 1869. The line was a 2.5-mile spur from the main Hartford, Providence, and Fishkill Railroad and it went to the Cheney silk mills, transporting passengers, silk goods and raw materials. This historic railroad was known as the longest privately owned passenger-and-freight railroad, as well as one of the shortest in America.
The Manchester Land Conservation Trust (MLCT) owns about 5.7 acres of the rail bed (1.7 linear miles). The trail is mostly shaded and a pleasant walk any time of the year. The terrain is fairly flat with a processed stone path, a small section of stairs (at Middle Turnpike W.) have been replaced with a ramp that was built at a 10% grade. There are three street crossings with painted cross walks and signage indicating a trail crossing.
MLCT leads a few walks each year with commentary on the history of the railroad and the silk mills. Truman Cowles Parklet has a small parking area, picnic table and kiosk.
Parking is available behind 2 Main Street (right by the old tracks) on the north end of Manchester. You can also park at the nearby strip mall or at the Eight District offices parking lot.
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