The rail trail that passes on the west side of the Congamond Lakes extends six miles across Southwick in a north-south direction from Connecticut. It follows, in large part, the path of the New Haven and Northampton Railroad, which, in turn, had followed a portion path of the Hampshire and Hampden Canal.

The story of this transportation corridor started in 1826 when the Farmington and the Hampshire and Hampden Canals were built to carry goods up and down between Northampton, MA and the Long Island Sound at New Haven, CT. For just over twenty years, canal boats loaded with goods were pulled along the canal by horses on towpaths. These goods otherwise would have had to be carried overland to the Connecticut River or to the Hudson River for shipping to Long Island Sound. The canal was a boost for manufacturing and agriculture and proved the point that impoved transportation would be beneficial to a small agricultural town like Southwick. But it was an expensive solution, so the canal was gradually closed between 1842 and 1848. Over the next ten years the Canal Company became the Northampton and New Haven Railroad, took in new investors, and began building their railroad in Connecticut reaching Simsbury, CT in 1850.

By 1855 they had passed through Southwick and reached Westfield. Two railroad stations were built in Southwick: one at the Lakes on Congamond Road and one at the eastern end of Depot Road. In 1887 the railroad was leased to New York New Haven and Hartford Railroad. In 1969 it was made part of the Penn Central Railroad. With demise of Penn Central in the early 1970's, much of the line was abandoned.

The Southwick portion of the Rail Trail is now fully complete from the CT line to Westfield, MA. Westfield is currently building .9 of a mile that will connect to the Southwick Trail.

(Information provided by Southwick Historical Commission)
Contact our Web Designer at SouthwickRailTrail@Gmail.com