The Mountain Division Trail (MDT) follows the former Portland and Ogdensburg Railway (P&O). When Maine Central Railroad acquired the line, the name was changed to the Mountain Division Rail Line. The line was originally built to connect the port of Portland with the St. Lawrence Seaway in Ogdensburg, N.Y. with a spur connecting to Montreal. By the time construction was finished, there were more competing rail lines and it became difficult for the P&O to be profitable.
1958 - Passenger Service suspended
1983 - Freight Service stopped
1994 - Guilford Transportation announced that it was planning to abandon rail service on the Mountain Division Rail Line in Maine. Concerned that the rail right of way would be lost, Alix Hopkins, Director of Portland Trails brought people from over 20 groups together to form The Mountain Division Alliance. Out of this group came the vision for a rail with trail connecting the 9 communities along the rail corridor from Portland to Fryeburg.
1997 - MaineDOT purchased 40 miles of rail line from Rt. 202 in South Windham to the N.H. border in Fryeburg.
2003 - The first 5-mile section of trail opened from Gambo Rd. in Windham to Johnson Field in Standish. The trail initially had a gravel surface. The 1-mile section from Gambo to Rt. 202 was completed 2 years later. Alix Hopkins steps down as Director of MDA and Dave Kinsman became the MDA President after converting it to a 501c3 corp.
2004 - The Gambo Bike/Ped Bridge opened crossing the Presumpscot River forming a 1-mile loop connecting through Shaw Park in Gorham and reconnecting to the trail.
*** 2006 - Portland Trails and MaineDOT opened a paved trail in Portland connecting Commercial St. with the Downeaster Transportation Center. The path follows the MD rail line from its beginning on Commercial St. completing the important first/last mile of the trail.
2007 - MaineDOT purchased the 5-mile section from Rt. 202 in S. Windham to Westbrook. Before selling the section, Guilford removed the rails. New Fryeburg Visitor Center opens - future trailhead for MDT.
2009 - 5 miles of the Windham, Gorham, Standish MDT is paved. Usage greatly increases. Decision is made that all future sections of the MDT will have paving.
2010 - Fryeburg section receives funding for trail. This is due in part that Fryeburg is the second busiest entry into Maine and the new visitor center would provide necessary amenities to trail users.
2011 - Phase 1 of Fryeburg 1.5 mile trail section is completed from Maine Visitor Center on Rt. 302 to Porter Rd.
2012 - Phase 2 competed in Fryeburg. 2.5 miles from Porter Rd to Rt. 113 at the Brownfield line. Engineering completed on the 5-mile Windham/Westbrook section.
Conway Rec Path Committee forms in North Conway area to work towards creating a bike/ped trail along the Mountain Division Rail Line from Bartlett through North Conway that would connect to the MDT in Fryeburg.
2013 - A meeting of officials and members from Windham, Westbrook, Sebago To The Sea and Mountain Division Alliance meet to discuss ways to raise matching funds for construction of a Windham-Westbrook section.
2016 - Sebago To The Sea Trail opens. Much of the western portion follows the Mountain Division Trail through Standish, Gorham and Windham.
2018 - Interest grows for constructing a section of the MDT next to the rail from the Transportation Center in Portland to Westbrook primarily because of the Rock Row development in Westbrook.
2020 - Mountain Division Alliance is prioritized in Maine Trails Coalition’s Rail Trail Vision Plan.
2021 - The Mountain Division Alliance is revitalized, updates their mission, and begins working on a strategic plan.
2022 - MDOT awards a $350K grant to complete design and construction documents for the Mountain Division Westbrook to Windham section with contributions from those communities for a grant total of $450K.
2023 - Governor Janet Mills has signed LD 404 into law, which authorizes the MaineDOT to construct a multi-use trail on the old Mountain Division Rail Line between Fryeburg and Standish. The bill was passed by a large majority in the Maine Senate and House of Representatives, demonstrating the legislature’s belief in the value of investing in trails for recreation and transportation. With the Governor’s signature, an interim trail can now be built on 31 miles of unused rail corridor.