Auburn Trail

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The Auburn Trail is a multi-use rail trail located principally in the town of Victor, Ontario County, New York (USA). It is approximately 9 miles (14 km) long and maintained by the Town of Victor and Victor Hiking Trails.[1] The trail mostly follows the alignment of the Auburn and Rochester Railroad. Additional disconnected portions of the Auburn trail are found in the Towns of Brighton, Pittsford, Monroe County, NY, and Farmington, Ontario County, NY.

Victor - Farmington Route[edit]

This section was constructed and is maintained by the Town of Victor, New York and Victor Hiking Trails Inc. Their detailed map of the Auburn Trail and trail description is available.

The Auburn Trail runs southeast from Woolston Rd and Powder Mills Park (extended in 2012-'13) and crosses Railroad Mills Rd. There are two bridges over Irondequoit Creek, one the original railroad stone culvert, the other a new (2011) steel bridge where the old culvert collapsed.

The trail crosses Fishers Road approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) north of the New York State Thruway, and then crosses under the Thruway shortly thereafter (because the Auburn Railroad was active when the Thruway was constructed, the Thruway was built over the alignment; this tunnel under the Thruway continues to serve the trail.)

From the Thruway, the trail continues south, over Irondequoit Creek, and through the hamlet of Fishers, New York. A coblestone pumphouse, built in 1845 and used to water the steam locomotives, is just south of Main Street Fishers. The trail continues to the southeast of Fishers, past Phillips Road. Approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) southeast of Phillips Road, the trail passes under the steel truss bridge of the old Lehigh Valley Railroad, now the Lehigh Valley Trail.[2][3] As the Auburn Railroad was built forty years before the Lehigh Valley, the newer road was obligated to build its bridge over the older line.

The Auburn Trail continues southeast from the Lehigh Valley, passing Victor-Mendon Road (Rt. 251) and Rawson Road to School Road in the Village of Victor. Here the Auburn Trail detours briefly from the old Auburn Road, to bypass an active rail siding. The trail follows School Street northeast for a short distance, before turning southwest on the old Rochester, Syracuse and Eastern Rapid Railroad alignment. This interurban electric railway ran trolleys from Rochester to Auburn from 1906 to 1930, and the Auburn Trail follows the alignment for 0.5 miles (0.80 km) from School Street to Maple Avenue in the Village of Victor. The trail then follows Maple Street south to the intersection with the Auburn Railroad alignment at Railroad Street. The trail continues to the southeast past the old Victor Passenger Station of the Auburn Railroad, now a gift shop.

East of the old station, the trail continues on past Ketchum Street to Brace Road then on to Break of Day Rd. There the trail detours around the next privately owned section of the Auburn Railroad alignment; the trail following Break of Day Road to the east, and then East Victor Road to the south before returning to the rail bed just before the power lines cross East Victor Road. (There is also a parallel off-road foot-path here that fords two streams and has some steep hills.) The trail then continues to the east, entering the Town of Farmington, crosses over Mud Creek on an enormous railroad embankment and then passes by the former railroad hamlet of Mertensia NY.[4]

The short Farmington portion of the Auburn Trail crosses Mertensia Road and follows through a modern subdivision to Boughton Hill Road (County Road 41.) The trail terminates at that point.

Future[edit]

The towns of Farmington and Canandaigua together with the City of Canandaigua have completed a plan in 2012 for completing that link in the Auburn Trail. They are now seeking funding sources. In the city, Ontario Pathways is planning extending their trail northwest to meet this section.[5]

Auburn Trail in Brighton and Pittsford[edit]

Portions of the old Auburn Railroad alignment in the Towns of Brighton and Pittsford, Monroe County, NY are also open to the public as trails. One portion, about 2.7 miles (4.3 km), runs through Brighton from Highland Avenue at Village Lane, south past Elmwood Avenue to Allens Creek Road, parallel to and just east of Interstate 590 (that portion of the interstate was originally the bed of the Enlarged Erie Canal, and, after the canal was rerouted south of Rochester, the alignment of the ill-fated Rochester Subway.)

Southeast of Allens Creek Road the alignment of the old Auburn Railroad passes behind various commercial properties on the east side of Monroe Avenue. The Auburn Trail resumes as a right-of-way through open land approximately 0.5 miles (0.80 km) southeast of Clover Street in the Town of Pittsford. The trail crosses French Road and continues into the Village of Pittsford, connecting with the Erie Canal trail at Grove Street. The old Auburn Railroad continued through the Grove Street area (the old railroad station is currently part of the Del Monte Hotel), crossing North Main Street (Route 96) and continuing parallel to, and east of, Schoen Place.

Another section of the Auburn Railroad in Pittsford is currently usable as a trail, starting on Pittsford-Palmyra Road (Route 31) approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) east of the State Street bridge over the Erie Canal, and approximately opposite the intersection of Route 31 and Wood Creek Drive. The Auburn trail picks up at this point and follows the old railroad alignment south, past Mitchell Road. This short section of the Auburn trail, about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) in length, ends at the Erie Canal Trail. The abutments for the trestle that once carried the Auburn Railroad over the Canal are still visible.

Another stub of the Auburn trail can be found on the south side of the former trestle over the Erie Canal, starting on Knickerbocker Road, about 600 feet (180 m) south of East Jefferson Road (Route 96.) This section of the trail continues 0.75 miles (1.21 km) south to Mill Road, about 1,000 feet (300 m) southwest of East Street. The old Auburn Railroad followed along the east side of Mill Road, and portions of the trail appear and disappear as modern development encroaches on the original alignment.

Yet another stub of the Auburn trail follows south of Thornell Road, just east of Mill Road, in Pittsford, to LaDue Circle and East Street. The trail continues to the southeast of East Street, along the south side of Park Road and continuing to the southeast behind modern housing, crossing Railroad Mills Road at Sturbridge Lane, and continuing to Railroad Mills Road and Woolston Road. The alignment of the original Auburn Railroad followed along the east side of Railroad Mills Road to Probst Road (see Victor - Farmington Route, above.)

In 2002, the Regional Trails Initiative proposed a master plan for biking and hiking trails in the Greater Rochester Area, which, among other things, recommended connecting up the different stubs of the Auburn trail in Brighton and Pittsford, to join the more fully developed Victor - Farmington trail.[6]

Historic Topographical Maps of the Auburn Railroad[edit]

A Topographic map dated 1900, posted online by the University Of New Hampshire, shows the Auburn Railroad, now the Auburn Trail, from Railroad Mills Road to the Lehigh Valley Railroad Junction.[7] Another topographical map posted by the same source shows the Auburn Railroad in Victor,[8] while a third shows the Farmington portion of the railroad.[9] An 1895 topographical map, posted by the same source, shows the Auburn Railroad as it passes through Brighton and Pittsford to the Erie Canal.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.victorhikingtrails.org/
  2. ^ http://www.monroecounty.gov/Image/LEHIGHTRAILPARK.pdf
  3. ^ http://www.victorhikingtrails.org/map/trails/td-l.html
  4. ^ http://wnyrails.net/cities/mertensia.html
  5. ^ http://www.townoffarmingtonny.com/auburn_trail_study
  6. ^ http://atfiles.org/files/pdf/RochesterNY.pdf
  7. ^ http://docs.unh.edu/NY/mace00sw.jpg
  8. ^ http://docs.unh.edu/NY/cand03nw.jpg
  9. ^ http://docs.unh.edu/NY/cand03ne.jpg
  10. ^ http://docs.unh.edu/NY/rstr95se.jpg