Autumn 2017
September 19, 2017

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The Arches

The Arches

Historic Railroad Arch Bridges.
Middlefield MA 01243

map | overhead view (Google)

Hike in required.

These bridges are difficult to reach. To reach them you must hike in. The entire journey is about 4 miles, but is surely worth the effort.

For a $20.00 donation, The Chester Foundation will provide a guide to any group desiring to reach these magnificent works. Or they will provide a map for a self-guided tour.

Please call (413) 667- 8755 to arrange a trip to the Keystone Arches.

The Arches Postcard Series

These postcards are available from the Chester Foundation for $1 each, or $5 for the group with free shipping.

Arches Postcard Series 1

Arches Postcard Series 2
The Keystone Arches draw people from near & far into the wilderness of Chester, Middlefield & Becket, Massachusetts. Built for the railroad in the late 1830s, no mortar was used. All of the huge stones were quarried locally and cut by hand. The Arch pictured here is the second highest which towers 65 feet over the Westfield River.

Arches Postcard Series 3
The colossal 70 foot arch is the largest ever built along the rail trail in the 1840s. Photos cannot do it justice. It must be seen in person for one to appreciate the magnitude of this awesome structure. No longer in use by the railroad, it sits undisturbed in a tangle of plants & trees. Folks who have discovered this arch for the first time often describe the experience as if they had found a pyramid in the jungle!

Arches Postcard Series 4
A train passes over the double arch on a warm October morning. This is the only double arch built along the rail line.
In 1840, the average locomotive weighed in at about 12,000 lbs. Today, the arches are still structurally sound and casually support modern locomotives that weigh in at approximately 412,000 lbs!

Arches Postcard Series 5
Two modern CSX locomotives pass over the majestic doube arch on a sunny afternoon in February, 2005. Built in 1840, this is the only double arch built along the rail line. It was originally the 2nd arch bridge going westward from Chester, however the original "gateway" arch (about 1/2 mile east) was washed away in the flood of 1927 making this the first along the modern rail line today.


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