Finally, clean-up date set to remove trash and debris along railroad-owned property

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In mid-April two tents went up along the Pan Am Railway tracks that run along the millyard. In the foreground, a sign posted encouraging residents to contact the railway regarding the mounting trash on the property, which is private property and can’t be cleaned by the city or residents without Pan Am’s permission. Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH – June Trisciani was happy to hear that the city has finally made contact with Pan Am Railways about the mounting trash problems along the railroad tracks. The view from her business in the millyard has been bothering her for more than a year.

The problem has been that the railroad tracks and adjoining land are owned by Pan Am, not the city. So folks like Trisciani, who’ve asked the city to do something about it have been told their hands are tied.

In early April Trisciani noticed evidence that people had again been sleeping along the tracks, and deduced that it was only a matter of time before people would start returning to camp along the tracks, once the spring foliage created a visual barrier. Sure enough, by mid-April there were two tents pitched along the tracks.

June Trisciani stands next to some of the debris accumulated along the railroad tracks behind her work. Photo/Carol Robidoux

It’s unacceptable to Trisciani, who feels that Pan Am needs be held accountable for maintaining the area and keeping it clean.

“This is our gateway between Elm Street and the millyard and so many folks walk to and from parking and lunch every day. It is appalling how disgusting it gets and how unsafe it feels,” says Trisciani, who’s business is nestled in the millyard just beyond the tracks. “There have been a few reports on See Click Fix lately and the most recent has the standard city response that, essentially, reminds folks that this is private property and the city cannot do anything about it.”

Trash located along the railroad tracks south of Market Basket. Photo/SarahG603 on SeeClickFix

“We did a phone campaign last year to remove tents and that did work; however, it has just gotten to be a mess again. Last year there was a gentlemen who offered to clean up the area and he was told by the rail road that it was private property and he would be charged with trespassing,” said Trisciani, who resorted to posting contact information for Pan Am on a utility pole next to the tracks.

In an effort to find out more, InkLink contacted Kevin Sheppard, of the Public Works Department, who said that it so happened Don Pinard of city Parks and Recreation, was already working with Pan Am to figure out how to clean up the mess.

Tires scattered along property between Elm Street and the railroad tracks. Photo/SarahG603 via SeeClickFix

On April 25, Robert Murphy, of the Boston & Maine Railroad Police Department, confirmed that Pan Am and the city were cooperating to schedule a clean-up on May 8 at 8 a.m., and that the city was going to provide dump trucks and some manpower. Most of the work will rely on volunteers, including members of Manchester Connects, All Hands In, and  Neighbor Works Southern New Hampshire, to reduce the cost of city laborers.

Janine Woodworth, who volunteers with All Hands In, has been communicating with Murphy, who said the railroad’s safety department has scoped out dumping locations and is creating a map, and that they are marking locations along the rail with marking paint where people can centrally deposit trash that is collected.

Woodworth, who holds an entry permit for the property from the railway, said Pan Am is also bringing in ATVs and trailers to assist with moving the bags of garbage to the drop-off locations where the trucks can pick them up, and that they should be providing trash bags, water and food.

Beyond cleaning up the eyesore, Trisciani’s main concern is the safety of those on clean-up duty.

“I am hoping the railroad or city will have some gloves available for folks who may need them. I’m not sure what is in the mess; however, there are probably many things folks should not be touching with bare hands,” Trisciani said last week.

Gallery of some of the debris along the railroad tracks.

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“We have had lots of folks camping in tents on the property and a few just randomly sleeping on trash piles. While the police department has been around every few days to move folks along, they are generally back by end of day.  I would not want any volunteers coming to clean up to have to deal with asking folks to pick up and move along so the task can be completed,” Trisciani said, who suggested Manchester’s Community Policing division be included in the May 8 clean-up.
The map below designates where the clean-up will begin on May 8 and where drop-off locations are for collected trash.

Click here to join the May 8 clean up event, or contact Janine Woodworth at

About Carol Robidoux 6527 Articles
Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!