Rails to Trails advocates threaten potential scenic commuter rail corridor

Apr 16th, 2012 | By | Category: Bicycling, Transportation

A note from Richard Stowe:

A critical passenger railroad right-of-way corridor is under attack by rails to trails advocates.

Their plan would eliminate the possibility of direct passenger rail service between New London and Hartford. If revived as a passenger rail corridor, this could be one of the most spectacular scenic train rides in New England.

Express your support for future passenger rail service.

Commissioner Daniel C. Esty
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT. 06106-5127

General Contact Number – 860 424 3000.

Commissioner James P. Redeker
Connecticut Department of Transportation
2800 Berlin Turnpike
P.O. Box 317546
Newington, CT 06131-7546

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4 Comments to “Rails to Trails advocates threaten potential scenic commuter rail corridor”

  1. @Ginger, I wrote the note as the CT Environmental Headlines editor suggests.

    The Hartford to New London/Westerly, RI corridor has much potential for commuter rail It ties together two colleges Wesleyan University and Connecticut College. It provides a one seat ride from Hartford, Wethersfield & Rocky Hill to Connecticut’s shoreline, a direct ferry to Block Island and other summer destinations. Shoreline East train cars will be replaced with the new M-8 cars giving commuters a one-seat ride from GCT to Old Saybrook. That means the Shoreline East equipment could be used for a new line. I don’t think there’s much potential for freight rail – coal is 50% of freight rail by volume, but to be honest I haven’t really thought about it.

    I favor preserving the rail right-of-way and strategically using it for commuter/passenger purposes. Without knowing the details of the area adjacent to the rail corridor I most like would support a trail next to or nearby the rail corridor. I would very much begin a dialogue with you. PLEASE contact me via this link (http://www.railtec.org/railtec.org/About_RailTEC.html)

    @ Lynne – Bingo, your comments are spot on. I have also observed advocates underrate the importance of investment in complete streets (designed for vulnerable users) in favor of trail building.

    @ Chris – thanks for posting!

  2. As editor, I’m sure I wasn’t speaking against an outdoor recreation trail. I believe someone else was speaking for commuter rail. Richard Stowe, who I believe wrote the note to which you refer, doesn’t have a car and ride his bicycle and commuter rail everywhere and is a large advocate of both trails and commuter rail. I can put you in touch with him if you would like. I usually try to not take a position on things I publish, but I also have to allow both sides to voice their opinions … at least in most cases. You might notice I don’t publish anything from The Heartland Institute for instance. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Ginger LaBella says:

    I am shocked to see a web site titled “Environmental Headlines” speaking against the desire to have a public outdoor recreation facility that would enhance our town, region and state. I had to read the brief article three or four times just to be sure I was reading it correctly. While I agree with the previous commenter when she suggests that rail is more environmentally friendly than car traffic, I cannot fathom how one could put a trail for bicycling, walking, rollerblading, X-country skiing, etc. in the negative column. It seems highly unlikely that this railroad would ever be used for commuter rail traffic. If anything, it might be used for freight, which would be a poor choice of how to best utilize this amazingly beautiful stretch of land. For anyone who has not seen the current “railroad” firsthand, you need to understand that for it to be used again for trains it would have to be completely reconstructed. To me, a better use of funds would be towards making it a recreational area, as it is currently designated in the DEEP records.

  4. Lynne Shapiro says:

    ow can Anyone claim to be any kind of environmentalist if they don’t fully support reducing air pollution by taking cars off the road with mass transit. While I love to bicycle (although I almost got sexually assaulted riding one in the ou.tskirts of Hamden at one point), I find those who put bicycling above all other concerns members of an upclass elite group that disregards the plight of others who need accessibility, mobility and equity for their transportation needs with mass transit, even buses that they turn their noses down upon.

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