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The little town that could: Short rail line in Ohio shows the way

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  • The little town that could: Short rail line in Ohio shows the way

    GREENFIELD, Ohio – Some observers might be tempted to call a little locomotive that chugs through south-central Ohio the “ghost train.”

    “If you turn the other way for a second, you might miss it,” said Ron Coffey, city manager of Greenfield, a tiny town of just 4,639 residents.

    Attempts to find the train’s schedule are made near-impossible by bureaucracy and security. “Can’t tell you when the train runs,” said Leonard Wagner, vice-president of transportation at Genessee & Wyoming, the company that operates the trains. When asked why, he simply replied: “national security.”

    But while the train executives concern themselves with national security, for locals in Greenfield the train only means one thing: job security. In an era when long distance trucking on the interstate network dominates much U.S. trade, Greenfield has shown that a reliance on an old-fashioned railway can actually provide a lifeline to a small community.

    Greenfield itself owns the 29.5 mile stretch of rail line – known as a “short line” that connects a string of economically depressed towns in southern Highland County. According to records kept by the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), Greenfield is the smallest municipality in America to own its own rail line.
    Al Jazeera - Full Article

  • #2
    Good post, nice to read some good news from time to time.

    Everything sort of fell into place for that little town. Their industries just happen to use the kind of shipping that makes rail the best choice. Combine that with location, and a town survives, people have jobs.
    ALL LIVES SPLATTER!

    BLACK JEEPS MATTER!

    BLACK MOTORCYCLES MATTER!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Daemon of Decay View Post
      Interesting article, and it points out the possibilities of such shortline operations. However, they can only succeed if they fill a vital need and can show a profit, so it would be interesting to know what those needs are in that area.

      As for the "national security" claim, that is highly doubtful.

      For a long time, Yreka, California operated a shortline only ten miles long between Yreka and the connection to the Southern Pacific at Montague; however, falling revenues have placed it in receivership. Last I heard they were trying to turn it into a tourist railroad, a good source of revenue these days, especially if steam is the motive power.

      For the record, that ten mile stretch has been in operation for the better part of a century or so.
      Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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