BTA Introduce New Marketing Plan For ‘Rail Trail’

February 20, 2017

The Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] is rolling out a plan this year to raise the profile of the Railway Trail in the visitor experience, saying they will “begin using new language to describe its attributes – starting with a new nickname: Rail Trail instead of Railway Trail.”

“Bermuda is increasingly the choice of younger travellers looking for sport, adventure and culture and the Rail Trail can deliver that,” said Pat Phillip-Fairn, chief product and experiences development officer for the BTA.

The BTA said they have three objectives as it relates to the public thruway which stretches from one end of the island to the other:

  • Reimagine the Rail Trail as a modern-day tourism asset with cultural relevance
  • Rediscover its benefits as a health and wellness experience
  • Refine as a year-round adventure for visitors and locals

To execute on its plan, called “Rediscover the Rail Trail”, the BTA will put on two events built around the trail and will begin using new language to describe its attributes – starting with a new nickname: Rail Trail instead of Railway Trail.

ReDiscover  the RailTrail Bermuda Feb 20 2017

“A snappier name built for a hashtag instead of a museum is one way we hope to modernise the asset,” said the BTA’s Director of Public and Stakeholder Relations Glenn Jones.

“It’s not an official name change; we don’t have the authority to do anything like that. But just like we all sometimes use Bermy in place of Bermuda because it’s more youthful, we hope Rail Trail has a similar impact.”

#RailTrailBDA will be used as part of the BTA’s 2017 plan which calls for one event in March and a second in November, a strategic approach to use both ends of the shoulder season. A November event will take place in the west end and a March event in the east.

Mrs Phillip-Fairn said: “The Rail Trail can definitely play a role in our refined position as a truly year-round destination.

“Residents are already using the Rail Trail more because of recent improvements and better connectivity so at the BTA we want to take that momentum and inspire even more enhancements and more links.

“We can do this working with Friends of the Railway, our partners in government and a lively group of entrepreneurs who continue to bring fresh business ideas to the trail and to tourism in general.”

The BTA kicks off its Rail Trail plan with an event Sunday, March 5th, 2017 along the Hamilton Parish stretch of the Rail Trail between Shelly Bay and Bailey’s Bay.

Health and wellness experiences like paddleboards, yoga and soca-size will be on offer for free at the Shelly Bay end, while Gombeys, rum swizzle and island music will dominate at Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club, the BTA said.

There will be healthy or culturally relevant food available at each end of the 2.5 mile journey. Along the way, the BTA will plan surprises to excite participants and challenge them to experience the Rail Trail in a new way. Visitors and locals are welcome.

Mr Jones said: “Our ‘surprise and delight’ activations are where we want to inspire entrepreneurs. Ultimately, we hope they see the Rail Trail as a tourism opportunity ready for services that enhance the experience of those who use it.

“As we successfully increase usage of the Rail Trail we increase job opportunities for Bermudians.”

“The BTA offers thanks to a collection of partners and entrepreneurs who have enthusiastically jumped on board to help the country rediscover the Rail Trail,” the BTA said.

“Over the next two weeks they will collaboratively share additional information about what the public can except on March 5th. Free registration for attendees of the event is available online beginning today.”

The full 2017 Plan for Rail Trail report is below [PDF here]

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Comments (78)

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  1. Get Going says:

    Nice idea. It would be great though if some money was spent either asphalting or at least levelling the trail. Right now it’s totally unsuitable for strollers or wheelchairs or after rain, and an ankle breaker for runners who are trying to avoid the death-trap of running on the roads.

    • I heart 441 says:

      They are all paved up here in Somerset. Personally, it will take away from the natural beauty if they pave the trails.

      • Would like to know what culture you’re talking about because they have’nt interacted with de Black Culture since College Weeks.

        • Truth says:

          Ok Onion, since you brought up bullish*t, how about putting in a few bathrooms along the trail??

        • jt says:

          O.J. if you’re lonely you can ditch the contrived persona thing you’ve got going on just try being friendly instead.

      • Get Going says:

        That’s fair enough. It does restrict the use of the trail though. I guess I’ll just continue to push my kids along the roads in their stroller while y’all stay safe on your trail of natural beauty.

        • DBL says:

          Forget the paving – just focus on cutting the weeds and overgrowth which encourages dirt and filth. Noone wants to walk in waist high grass

    • Sickofantz says:

      While they are at it perhaps they can pave the beaches too.

    • Onionlife says:

      Good comments ‘Get Going’ , the Rail Trail needs to be paved. For example , ‘Rail Trail’ is the common name in other jurisdictions, and these old railroad beds are leveled and paved approximately 10′ wide for the benefit of walkers and pedal cycles. They run for many miles. People should not have to worry about their feet going into holes, ruts, mud,tripping over limestone rises and so forth while they are enjoying the natural sights and exercising. Our version of a Rail Trail falls way short of the real thing. I view it as just another trail in the woods. There are many of those. I used to use it more, but like many ,i now use the roads more and get in the way of big trucks. Too much crime on the Trail to. Also, why are there not zebra crossings and lights where the trail crosses main roads? Of all places for safety…..that’s OK I will just have to keep slamming on my brakes!

      • Say Whaat? says:

        How are you supposed to get back to nature on a paved path?!? Makes no sense. People don’t pave mountain trails. They are called trails not roads!

        • Just the Tip says:

          While I agree paving the trails make no sense, I do know that some spots are very difficult to walk on. I think adding soil to certain spots would be a good think

    • Pat Adderley says:

      this is so true, so get the trails ready and prepared for this as it’s a fabulous idea that’s long over due…

  2. wassup says:

    Good idea, but …. can you please invest in cleaning it all up. There is trash everywhere, some parts need new lighting, places need repairing where walls have fallen down and things like graffiti have to go.

    • Young Bermudian says:

      The fact that people are requesting that we need to clean up after people is the ideological problem. I grew up with KBB and think that their charity is brilliant, but what we need now is less trash clean ups and more strategies that deter littering in the first place.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        When was the last time anyone was hauled into court for littering?

        Drive across the US & you see signs warning of littering all over. Some states are very serious about littering. Fines can be as high as $1000. Scaling that up to a Bermuda rate & the littering fine should be $2000.

        If the courts actually nailed a few for littering the dirty habit would be cut real fast.

  3. Ms. Poli Tician says:

    Good ideas, but first, you might want to clean some of them up. I’ve seen all sorts of nasty stuff. In addition to countless bottles, I’ve seen diapers, full bags of household trash, fast food wrappers, clothes, old shoes, old bicycles and stuff I was too scared to identify. Some tracks are well-kept, but others are horrendous. Why do we treat our beautiful island with such disrespect?

    • Maybe we should all help... says:

      Why don’t you take a trash bag and a pair of gloves the next time you walk on the trail. You don’t have to spend your whole time picking up trash, but every little bit helps. You call it “our beautiful island”, but you have suggested the BTA clean it up. Bermudian’s are great at finding the negative. Our island would be better off if we all took a positive approach by contributing instead of looking for others to do for us.

      • Sorry Sir says:

        Isn’t it strange that tax dollars in other countries get spent on cleaning such things but in Bermuda it’s “Put on some gloves and do it yourself”?

        • Sickofantz says:

          We are a small island.

          • Toodle-oo says:

            I was under the impression that at some point in time we had blossomed into a ‘country’ and ‘nation’ .

            Thanks for reminding us of what we still are.

            • Onionlife says:

              True that! If we are that small- all the more reason Gov’t should keep up with it’s maintenance and development. Sadly, the horticultural up keep is contracted out which is expensive compared to Gov’t using it’s own workers and , the Trail becomes overgrown to often.
              Fortunately our Gov’t doesn’t have to plow snow, spread salt and/or sand on all it’s roads in winter, provide water and Sewage lines to every household , have big vacuum trucks for sucking up piles of autumn leaves along the streets and so forth. A lot of money is saved. More could be put into a much better Rail Trail.

      • Would like to know what culture you’re talking about because they have’nt interacted with de Black Culture since College Weeks.

      • Ms. Poli Tician says:

        it is misguided of you to assume I’ve never picked up trash. But I hold my position. Our island has more litter than ever. It is a form of disrespect. My family was raised to keep your trash in the car and throw it away when we got home. Now it seems to be more of roll your window down and pitch it. When you get off your high horse, take a drive around, as an example, Kindley Field Road is disgusting – all sorts of trash in the mesh fence. Oh, and by the way, Bermudians do not have the monopoly on finding the negative.

        Again, great idea BTA, but clean-up is required.

  4. Runner Girl says:

    I love running the railway trail (rail trail) and frequently run on the East End trails. This week, I was pleased to run from Southampton to the Botanical Gardens. There are some areas that definitely need cleaning up/graffiti removed to ensure a satisfactory experience. Also, please put caution signs around the road crossings as these too can be quite scary, even for a veteran runner. Please don’t asphalt the areas – this is a trail and should be kept as such, but please put some lighting and rubbish bins in appropriate areas.

    • Sickofantz says:

      The most dangerous point is the crossing of South Shore Rd at Horizons. This is a real death trap as cars accelerate up the hill from Paget lights and come roaring round the blind corner. By the way I intend being a rebel and continuing to call it the Railway Trail!

      • PBanks says:

        Yeah, I’m officially “old” now, I can’t get behind that “hip” renaming as the Rail Trail, heh.

        • sage says:

          All the “new language” and a new nickname for the tracks should bring in millions. Must be nice getting paid to think up this crap, can imagine the meetings, all the suits and ties brainstorming. The condition of the roads we may have to drive on the tracks soon.

          • aceboy says:

            lol. You mean you wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars to go walk on a trail? For shame!!!

      • jiggs bda says:

        I Think you mean Harmony Hall / Club… Horizons is not in the area you describe

      • Say Whaat? says:

        Agree, rail trail sounds awful, like something bad will happen to you. BTA should rethink this re-branding that NO ONE asked for!

  5. Quinton Berkley Butterfield says:

    Excellent idea BTA!!

  6. This is great says:

    The trail is a national asset and one that should be showcased….I think this is the first step to the trail getting the attention that all preceding responders have noted.

    Let’s not forget the awesome work done along North Shore by the Murphy’s and Mr. Cherry–I think that coupled with a sustaiined effort to revitalize the trail will pay huge future dividends for this treasure.

    Thanks yet again BTA!

    • Young travellers must have changed over the years because it used to be rum, fun and then some!!!!!!!!!

      • I heart 441 says:

        It still is! Different strokes for different folks.

        • I guess thats why de Islands to de South of us get all de tourist.

          • Earth watch police says:

            Hey juice we don’t have tourists because of a certain day in the eighties when the biu blockaded the causeway so then the tourists had to get out of their taxis and drag their luggage behind them when they reached t he protesters they were spat on that’s why tourism is failing.

            • Since then there have been strikes in the Islands to de South of us and tourist are still flocking there, as a matter of fact there are strikes in most countries world wide, especially in Europe.
              Anymore boogy man concepts?
              LMFAO

      • Truth says:

        Yes, they have changed – many young people don’t booze it up any more. Haven’t you heard the saying “sober is the new black?” (like orange is the new black – nothing racist folks, so don’t even try to go there.)

    • Onionlife says:

      I agree, the positives I appreciate are the information signs along the Trail and the beautiful new bridges that were installed on the North Shore.

  7. Maddog says:

    Agree – please clean it up! Please have a sustainable plan in place with Parks Dept (or how about our guys up at Westgate??) to ensure there is a regular cleaning schedule, both of trash and empyting the dog poop bins – it;s disgusting. So don’t be promoting it without a proper cleaning schedule.
    And no thanks to the asphalt – it’s a natural trail, we don’t need any more concrete on this island. I agree, it’s quite an adventure in some places, but that’s what nature is all about.

    • Say Whaat? says:

      No free labour from the prisoners, thank you. We don’t do slaves here anymore.

      • Codfish and Grits says:

        It would be far from free labour being that our tax dollars pay to house the prisoners!!

      • aceboy says:

        Yea, they might miss the Yung and the Restless. Can’t have that.

      • Um, they’re costing us $80,000 a year for each prisoner.

      • Will says:

        You can take your liberal view out of this country sir. Those prisoners up there do absolutely nothing so to see a chain gang where these men will be ridiculed instead of spending a good time up westgate is much better bang for our buck.

  8. Dangerous crossing says:

    To the powers that be.
    Can you please put crosswalks across major roads? I have seen many an accident waiting to happen as people try to cross from one section of the trail to another.

    • Sickofantz says:

      The Crossing of South Shore at the Horizons property is an accident wating to happen. Also the gates are eyesores and dangerous for runners and mean you can’t bike on the trail anyway!

      • Bill says:

        Maybe in the future we could use the “tracks” for a monorail system in certain areas. About 15 feet above the ground so people could still use the tracks for recreation and to solve the congested roads for locals and visitors.

      • Get Going says:

        Use your bike on the roads then, like parents with strollers and the elderly in wheelchairs have to do!

    • Say Whaat? says:

      There are cross walks, just not near the trail. Do not put one near harmony club. People will just walk and get hit by the cars coming from Ice Queen because they can’t see around the corner.

  9. Onion says:

    Ah yes, adding another landmark to that fine Bermudian tradition of using the old names or the names of a former landmark.

  10. FTM says:

    Redesign the gates to make them bicycle friendly, please.

  11. Terry says:

    Funny.
    Reading these comments on how we need more trash cans/bins and places to dispose of diapers and bottles…………………………………..

    What a bunch of fools you all are by your comments.

    When you walk your property how many trash cans do you have. When you go to a friends house how many do they. Do you throw your butts on their lawn? Do you pee on their patio? You have a drink and drop your bottle /can.

    This happens at your house and you say what.

    This happens in and around your home; Bermuda and you say what.

    You wonder why 2017 will be a good year?

    Better learn to pick up and re-cycle for 2018+.

    Bite me.

  12. property owner says:

    This railway has been a political pawn for years the last time it was maintained fully was when D Burgess was minister.Since then parks under Pamplin Connanair and Cole have not issued it out on a full time to anyone contractor. I am glad BTA are involved now maybe something can be done.Oh please take it out of parks and the present P.S. hands .

    • Say Whaat? says:

      That’s an interesting fact. I know why the OBA didn’t bother, the railway trail doesn’t make money, so they didn’t give it money, like the schools!

  13. Shari-Lynn Pringle says:

    Excellent idea BTA. I’ll be contacting you with regard to a few ideas I have. Hopefully you’ll be open to listening to someone that actually utilizes the railway trails aka rail trails quite a lot.

    Funny how something as simple as the BTA announcing an initiative brings out pen names. Seriously people?

    • Make a new plan Stan says:

      I think you are brave the way you put your name on everything you post. You are a stranger to me BUT I know more about you than I think a stranger should……

      I’ve read about a weight loss journey, sexual orientation, laying stones at Spittal Pond, how the food the church is bringing in isn’t healthy etc. Anyone would think I know all of that because I’m obsessed with you but no…..this is all information you have posted with your name and or picture attached of your own volition.

      Your bravery and openness is awesome but I don’t think that should be a cause to criticize others but rather a badge of honor for you.

  14. O.M.G says:

    Onion juice are you one of these people that stay home and want everyone do things for you. Stop with poor me. Until you people stop with the racist comments things will never change. The BTA is doing a fantastic job we all have to make OUR country better. your elders did it years ago and were very proud of there country.
    Take a trash bag and go pick up some dame trash. Be proud to be BERMUDIAN

  15. Anon Ymous says:

    Adding some simple obstacles on the wider parts of the trail (so as not to impede other traffic) for the growing mountain bike community would definitely add interest / grow users – nothing big or fancy, just some dirt humps, jumps, balance beams / logs, etc. Fat Tire Massive are already doing a great job of this elsewhere and mtb ers would jump at the chance to get involved. Just a thought.

  16. loquat says:

    Bravo, BTA, for recognising our national, natural asset. Two requests: 1) Don’t destroy the ‘natural’ part: those of us who’ve championed the #RailTrail when it was overgrown, poorly used, tough to navigate, blocked by debris, appreciate it for serenity and soft surfaces (vs tarmac) 2) Before you market it, make it safer: check the number of valid comments here about dangerous crossings (e.g. @Harmony Hall). A local runner spent a week in ICU after being hit by a car here; kids, dogs, cyclists & tourists could risk worse

  17. Clare says:

    Well done, BTA. The Rail Trail is a fantastic asset, especially in the winter months when the weather is perfect for cycling, walking and running. The Bailey’s Bay stretch is now fantastic, with the new bridges.

    While I agree it would be ideal to clean up the trail, that’s Government’s job (Parks Department), and BTA can only beg and cajole them to do it (so can the rest of us). Maybe we can all show our Bermy pride and organise a neighbourhood cleanup, or ‘adopt’ a stretch of trail.

  18. Will says:

    We are dumbing down bermuda…really how hard is it to write railway trail I mean for real. If that’s too much to write on someone’s dear social media account they should go back to school. Long live the Railway Trail.