Rail misconceptions | AspenTimes.com

Rail misconceptions

Dear Editor:This letter is correct misconceptions expressed in Hal Sundin’s column in the March 14 (Glenwood Springs) Post Independent.The rail supporters want to preserve the existing tracks from Catherine to Glenwood to be used to operate a low-speed excursion and/or dinner train bringing in tourist dollars, and we want to create a scenic meandering trail running alongside.The tracks are operational. They represent a $5 million investment if they were to be laid new today. The tracks were last used to haul coal from the Mid-Continent load-out to Glenwood until the early 1990s. A 10- to 20-mph operation is all that is needed to run an excursion train.If a trail is implemented over the rail, trail enthusiasts and adjacent homeowners will never permit the “banked” right of way to be returned to commuter rail use and any opportunity for a excursion train will be lost. Of the many rails to trails projects in the United States, few have returned to rail.RFTA staff’s choice to implement an 8-foot-wide concrete trail is very expensive and permanent. They do not have the budget to complete the trail. They have committed $5 million for the trail (by 2010), but now estimate it will cost $3 million. If they were to use packed crushed stone as used in the trail above Emma, they would be able to complete the lower trail off the rail bed by 2010.Kip WheelerAspen

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