fredmcain wrote:I would like to say this about the “Rails to Trails” movement. I truly and honestly believe that many of the Rails to Trails people genuinely meant well – at least at the beginning.Hoping to reel this back in closer to the original topic, you've got some good points here. I can see railfans supporting a trail effort, if and when the organizers "promise" that the trail will be immediately handed back over to the railroad if/when a desire to restore rail service returns. I might have bought that claim too, once upon a time.
When they went on record as advocating “interim” use of an abandoned roadbed as a trail if and until rail service returns, then that’s probably what they really meant.
However, some of these people probably never really believed that rail service would ever actually return. Then the great railroad revival began and suddenly things looked differently. However, when it comes to returning a trail back into a functioning railroad, much of the opposition might not actually be coming from the “Rails to Trails” organization but rather from local residents who have become fond of the trail.
But we also need to remember that many of these "rails to trails" groups are headed by volunteers. As with any volunteer-run organization, people come and go. Maybe an original leader had to move away for work, or has personal issues which require them to step down. Just like in business, there's also room for politics or financial issues to pave the way for hostile takeovers. Or perhaps the leaders flat-out lied, saying what they knew they'd have to say, in order to get their way, even if they never meant it.
At least for now, though, I still don't see enough need to extend the Harlem Line beyond Wassaic. Heck, they still can't get the public to accept extending the Hudson Line to Rhinecliff --- even though the tracks and an Amtrak station are already there!