Federal Railroad Administration’s New Trails to Rails Program?

Hikers in the Frances Carter Preserve

Since the mid 20th century, when many railroad companies went bankrupt and abandoned miles of rail beds, an effort has been underway to turn their defunct rights-of-way into parkland for bicyclers and walkers, popularly called “Rails to Trails.”

Under the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) proposal in Charlestown, the existing rail lines will not be converted to trails, they will remain to be used for rolling freight and slower trains. Charlestown would end up with four rails, the existing rail lines that run from Kenyon, through Shannock, Carolina, and Wood River Junction, and two new high speed rails running through over 2000 acres of parkland, including the 1,112 acre Francis Carter Preserve.

We believe this magnitude of parkland conversion to transportation use is unprecedented. We’ve dubbed this program “Trails to Rails”. Sadly this isn’t a joke.

The image below is a trail map for the Carter Preserve showing existing and proposed rail lines.

Carter Preserve Trail and Tracks map
Approximate location of proposed new high speed tracks through Carter Preserve in red. Existing tracks to remain for freight and other trains in black.
Large field in Carter Preserve managed for grassland birds. Proposed Bypass would pass though this field and be in this view.
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Images and text in this post by Cliff Vanover