Section 35A. The board or officers authorized to lay out highways or town ways may lay out, construct and maintain rail trails under the laws relative to the laying out, construction and maintenance of public ways. For purposes of this section, a rail trail shall mean property converted from the former use as a railroad right-of-way to a use as a publicly-owned, improved and maintained corridor for bicycle, pedestrian and other non-motorized public transportation, recreation and associated purposes. Rail trails may be laid out on property a city or town has acquired by fee, easement, lease, license or otherwise and may be subject to a reversion allowing the railroad company or authority to reclaim the property for rail purposes upon written notice. The owner of such reversion shall be exempt from liability for any claims associated with use of any such rail trail including claims for damages that may arise under section 15 of chapter 84 and section 38 of chapter 161A.