‘Some trails are happy ones,

Others are blue.

It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,

Here’s a happy one for you.’

-- Don McLean

The “blue” Newtown Rail Trail will become a joyful journey now that a quarrelsome 2.5-mile stretch through Southampton is coming true to allow extension of the popular Pennypack Creek Trail from neighboring Montgomery County.

The 12-foot-wide hiking/biking/walking line -- a $2.4 million project mostly funded by the state -- runs from County Line Road near New Road, to Tamanend Park and then Bristol Road in Upper Southampton Township, it was said recently at a groundbreaking ceremony.

The Southampton stretch is part of the 8-mile Newtown trail running through Upper Southampton, Northampton, Middletown and Newtown townships, ending in Newtown Borough. It’s being called “Bucks County Park,” an extension of the 14-mile Pennypack route that follows SEPTA’s former R8 Fox Chase-to-Newtown train line shut down in 1983. Completion of the trail has been held up for some time by Northampton Township and by some homeowners near the proposed trail.

Once completed and added to the Pennypack trail, Southampton’s 2.5-mile section joins what is known as “The Circuit,” an 800-mile bicycle line that runs throughout the Delaware Valley.

Collaborative work by Bucks, Montgomery and Upper Southampton officials made this $2.4 million project possible, with added good news that much of the cost will be paid for by PennDOT’s Transportation Improvement Program. So maybe you’re wondering: will the route crossings at County Line Road and Second Street Pike be safe? Here’s the official statement: “All roadway crossings for the proposed trail are being designed by licensed professional engineers/designers in accordance with all applicable state, federal Highway Administration and PennDOT regulations and standards..” Furthermore, it said, it would occur at new or existing intersections.

Until the entire Newtown Rail Trail is completed, this step at least opens The Circuit to Southampton and creates what musician McLean considers a happy trail.

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