Richmond Times-Dispatch Article

Richmond Times-Dispatch Ashland Train Third Rail

The RTD published an article yesterday (Sunday December 11th) to do with the proposed third rail through Ashland.

Some Quotations

Trivett / Lindgren / Foley / Prichard

The following are quotations from the article.

  • Town Councilman Steven Trivett said there seems to be broad agreement that the effort to defeat a proposal to add a third track warrants the risk of losing all rail service.
  • Mayor Jim Foley said . . .that, ideally, Ashland would keep its rail service and that the loss of it is something he takes seriously. But if push comes to shove, Foley would support forgoing rail service if that’s what it takes to prevent the addition of a third track in town.
  • Randolph-Macon College President Robert Lindgren said that keeping some local rail service would be ideal but not as important as preventing the addition of a third track.
  • At a transportation board meeting Wednesday, member William Fralin Jr. asked why a three-track bypass option that eliminated the tracks in Ashland had not been studied.
  • Carey Carlisle, a director for Families Under the Rail, said she met with DRPT director Jennifer Mitchell last Monday and was pleased with the recommendation for more study of the Ashland area.
  • Hanover board representative Prichard said she was optimistic in a self-described “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” way that a “hybrid solution” can be found.

Additional Thoughts

The RTD article provides a fair overview of some of the issues. But it is worth considering the following additional thoughts.

No Celebration

Some residents of the Ashland community are treating the delay in the timing of the study as being a cause for celebration. This is not really the case ― all that has happened is that a delay has been proposed ― the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) is the organization that either accepts or rejects the recommendation; and we have not yet heard from them.

Station

The issue as to whether Ashland retains its train service is not a simple Yes/No decision. If a new station were to be built, say south of Ashcake Rd. or to the west, the town would still have train service. It may not be an easy walk to get there. But maybe it could be integrated with a bus or trolley service around town.

Safety

The critical topic as to which options are the safest was not discussed in the article.

3-3/0-3

The comment from Board Member Fralin raised the potential for a total bypass of Ashland that would involve removing the existing tracks and replacing them with a three mile long park/bicycle trail/social center.

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