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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More train stuff

I can't believe the level of craziness some people are going over this "high speed" rail business.

SJ-R: Third Street rail plan to be protested
On Wednesday, the Enos Park Neighborhood Association will conduct the first of four weekly demonstrations protesting Union Pacific Railroad’s plans to use its Third Street corridor for high-speed rail.
The demonstration will be on Carpenter Street between Second and Fourth streets at 5 p.m.

And ending with:

The city, which had always assumed that the 10th Street corridor would host high-speed rail, wants to create a multi-modal transportation hub that would unite train, bus, taxi and other transportation services at a site north of the Sangamon County Complex on the 10th Street tracks. (Emphasis added.)

First of all, it's not really high speed rail as that term is defined. It's faster trains as we've already discussed. Big difference.

Second, I hope if the guy who said he would lay down on the tracks is going to be there, that he doesn't actually lay down on the tracks. Besides getting run over, there are hefty fines for trespassing on railroad property.

Third, they might be protesting the wrong thing. Sorry to say this, but the city missed any opportunity it could have had to move the tracks from Third Street to Tenth. They should have been planning for this and taking steps to make its plan happen. (Added: And absent giving a good reason for the Union Pacific to use its own money to pay for such a move, where did the city think the money was going to come from?) As one commenter put it, "Don't blame the railroad for the lack of foresight of the city." By the way, mixed in with some emotional comments, there are some excellent, knowledgeable comments on that article.

Finally, about protesting a rail company: The railroad always wins. You don't reverse a railroad. You welcome a railroad with open arms (figuratively). What's good for the railroad, is good for the community. If the railroad is doing good, we're doing good. I think it's safe to say this town wouldn't be what it is without the railroad(s). Unfortunately, companies like Allis Chalmers (later Fiat Allis) and Sangamo Electric, which provided thousands of jobs, and which relied heavily on the railroad, are no longer in existence. At least, not around here. Let me put it this way: The railroad does not need Springfield; Springfield needs the railroad.

Edit: Please read this level-headed blog article, which I just spotted: Peoria Station: Springfield Media Whips Up Frenzy Over Increased Train Traffic.

Edit 2: The Springfield Art Association is promoting the frenzy by is asking its supporters to join the protest.

Posted by Marie at August 18, 2009 10:50 PM

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