You may have noticed there is a blog category of “Trails to Rails”. It wouldn’t be shocking if you thought that was a typo. 😉
As the United States has deliberately been weakened by deindustrialization, one marker of “Progress” by the Left has been the rate at which destroyed railroads have been converted into bike paths (using gasoline excise tax dollars, of course).
A continuous flat deeded (or easement) strip of land connecting two communities is a very valuable resource – they have often been used for pipelines and fiber optic cables. Typically an easement will say something like if the railroad abandons the right of way for some period of time, the easement ends and control returns to the landowner.
Making a bike trail is a way to hold the rights to the ROW even though it no longer has tracks. The Rails to Trails contract typically has language allowing the railroad to tear up the bike path and put down a new roadbed and convert “Trails to Rails”.
Introducing the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad
As was commonly done, large amounts of unprofitable trackage was spin off from the major railroads to small privately owned railroads. Freed of onerous union rules and operating rules designed only to protect obsolete jobs, these railroads typically could survive by giving local businesses service the big guys never could.
The Wheeling and Lake Erie has had a miracle. This thing called fracking came along. The railroad is springing back to life – hauling sand to West Virginia and Pennsylvsnia from The Midwest, and hauling the condensed hydrocarbons (Butane, Propane, etc) that are by products of natural gas production to Toledo, Ohio for further processing.
Now there is real Progress!