The Way To Swampscott: Adventure of A Lifetime

Artist John Bonner ventures to uncharted territory: upon the would be Swampscott Rail Trail.


In June, Columbia Pictures began pouring millions of dollars into the making of the Adam Sandler movie Grown Ups 2.

At the same time, Marblehead artist and animator John Bonner set in motion his own movie — Thighs of Steel.

He did it himself. The planning, the script, the filming, the acting, the special effects and the editing.

He also financed the venture. It cost about $25.

His goal? Raise awareness.

"It was to raise awareness of the idea of making at some point the Swampscott branch of the former rail (line) a full amenity bike path," he said.

When John first moved to Marblehead 12 years ago, he was surprised to discover a beautiful smooth rail trail on the leg that runs to Salem and, on the other leg, to Swampscott, to find the route blocked and without access.

He's very familiar with the Marblehead to Salem trail. He rides 5 miles on it about every day.

He was not so familiar with the Swampscott path, which, John says, takes a meandering course.

In any event, John decided to have fun with the movie, assuming a persona that is one part Sir David Frederick Attenborough and one part world traveler and Monty Python actor Michael Palin.

He wanted to make a movie that was fun to watch and did not browbeat those who watched it.

So here it is: a trip by bicycle over the untamed leg of a former rail line extending from Marblehead to Swampscott.

To see John's paintings and drawings visit his website www.johnbonner.com

The Swampscott path has yet to be converted to a rail trail though some people in Swampscott have been working to that end. For more information on their efforts here is a link to a Patch story earlier this year and video from a year ago.

Terry Date September 24, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Here you go, Brian: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y47xRLiez4
Terry Date September 24, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Myjanda, you can send out this link to your friends — http://patch.com/A-xY32 — and urge them to do the same.
Mrs Ross September 24, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I just want everyone to know that we continue to be persistent with this project. Our eminent domain easement documents are on the Town Administrators desk awaiting Town Counsel review. Hopefully in the near term it will be ready for the Selectmen to sign. This is just the beginning of the land acquisition phase of the project and represents a small part of the entire project but its surely a start. These projects, unfortunately, take along time since there are many variables in play but we continue to work hard to make this a reality in Swampscott.
Roger Talkov September 24, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I can confirm the last post. The Rail Trail Committee is continuing to push forward with the project and we appreciate the town wide support for the project.
brian condon September 28, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Teri Thanks for the link! It sounds like the committee is advancing well in its efforts. Great project!


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