A bridge so near: Friends of the Bermuda Railway Trail entered into a public/private partnership with the Parks Department to enhance the Trail as a national resource for locals and visitors. The bridge sections are being added near Francis Patton Primary School in Hamilton Parish. *Photo supplied
A bridge so near: Friends of the Bermuda Railway Trail entered into a public/private partnership with the Parks Department to enhance the Trail as a national resource for locals and visitors. The bridge sections are being added near Francis Patton Primary School in Hamilton Parish. *Photo supplied

The first bridges that will form part of a new stretch of Railway Trail were carefully dropped in place this week.

Six bridge sections were erected on the Winton Hill coastline as part of a major initiative to join up the trail across the island and make it more accessible to walkers and bikers.

The programme could also see bridge sections put up between Coney Island and Ferry Reach as well as across the Flatts Inlet.

But for the time being the focus is firmly on the section between Winton Hill and Bailey’s Bay.

The brains behind the project are father and son team Mike and Tucker Murphy. 

But the duo are keen to stress that progress has only been made possible thanks to generous donations, volunteer contributions and community support.

Mike Murphy said: “There are two phases to the work between Winton Hill and Bailey’s Bay. We have placed six bridges and there are nine more to come.

“So there is still some work to do before this section of the Railway Trail is open to the public, but we are getting there.

“This has been an overwhelming effort by the community.

“Everyone who has participated seems proud to be part of a truly community grass roots effort.”

The programme to enhance the Railway Trail goes back to 2011 and was spearheaded by Tucker Murphy.

In June 2012 his family’s foundation entered into public/private partnership with the Department of Parks to improve the Trail.

Last March, the charity Friends of Bermuda Railway Trail was formed to help fund improvement projects.

Mike Murphy added: “If we do it right, there could be a tremendous upside to this work.

“Our first and foremost focus after this section will be the Ferry Reach to Coney Island gap.

“The idea of making Coney Island a gateway to St George’s for walkers and bikers is very appealing.

“But the next stage will depend on if we have continued support from the community as well as financial backing.”

Richard Winchell, chairman of the Hamilton Parish Council, welcomed the new addition to the Railway Trail.

He told the Bermuda Sun: “When we were first made aware of the plans, there were some members who were concerned about the change in the view that this project could have.

“Change can be difficult, but this has been a wonderful addition to the area.

“For residents, tourists and even school children to be able to walk along this stretch of Trail is great news.

“And what’s more, this section of the Trail has some of the most breathtaking views anywhere in Bermuda.

“It’s been a fantastic thing to see the whole community get behind this project and give up their time for it.

“It’s a great example of good citizenship.”