I’ve been reading so many stories about rails to trails projects across the US and that makes me very sad. Not only as a person who is interested about railways and their function in our current world, but mostly about their role in the past. US wouldn’t be there where it is right now without railways. Hence it is always sad to see plans to destroy some living pieces of history. History, which we will be a part in the future, and our actions too.
I completely understand why some people feel the need to change this functional piece of railway to trails, but I hope they can still reconsider. First, the historical aspect. As more and more railway lines are closed and removed, it becomes more and more important to preserve those currently existing. In the case on Nickel Plate Railroad not only it’s a very famous railway which played a big role in the past, but it’s also few of the remaining original sections of that Railroad. Is destroying it a right thing to do, considering generations to come? More time goes by, more valuable it becomes as a living example of the days gone by.
There is also an economical point of view to consider here. An operational museum railroad can bring lot of tourists in to the area and get them spending money which finances the local economy in several different ways. And in the case of famous railroad, like Nickel Plate, potential is enormous. Rather than trying to get rid of it, all cities and towns involved should be planning how to improve it and how to make it known for wider audience. I am writing this in Manchester, United Kingdom, and can say for my, and several other train enthusiasts behalf that trail will never get us visiting the area. But a working railroad would. Staying a week in the area would easily get us spending several hundreds of dollars, even thousands during our trip. This kind of economic effects should also be considered when making a decision which has so much in stake.
So, please reconsider the plan to destroy a living piece of history as it can’t be brought back after it’s gone.
Manchester, United Kingdom