I was 12-years-old when I rode a train for the first time – Cincinnati to Morgantown, West Virginia. Not only was it my first but I was alone. Although I do not remember how long it took, if I ate railroad food or if the train was clicking and clacking. All I remember was that I had the time of my life.
I believe my mother must have told the conductor to keep an eye on me. There are no conductors on freight trains nowadays, but they still roam the isles of passenger trains today.
Old movies make train travel seem romantic. Consider “North by Northwest,” “Some Like it Hot,” “The Lady Vanishes” or “Strangers on a Train.” The movie made the year I rode the train some 100 miles, “Closely Watched Trains,” was in the theatre.
We have lost the romance of traveling by train unless we are a true train enthusiast. Open coach, dining, lounge, club, sleeping and private compartment cars were once standard as part of a long distance passenger train.
Typically, one who is concerned with Federal government bloat will complain about taxpayer dollars supporting some Amtrak routes. High-speed rail talk usually includes a harrumph.
As high-speed rail south of Richmond has passed another landmark on its way to reality and the project heads into the study of property acquisition and funding, many indicators point to the Ettrick station being abandoned as high-speed rail plans are completed.
Chesterfield has included the Ettrick station in its plan for Ettrick but lost a grant intended to keep it at the Ettrick location. Collier Yard is favored by the Virginians for High Speed Rail while a station in Colonial Heights is also being considered. Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation will decide where the station will be located by the end of October.
I think a station in Chesterfield is important; it demonstrates a commitment to tourism for one and offers more transportation opportunities as well. Jim Daniels, a local Realtor®, wanted to include a train station on the east side of the CSX tracks that run though Chester, which would have added value to Chester real estate and the Chester Village Green development in particular. The Chester location would have been more centrally located, benefitting Bensley, Courthouse and Ettrick as well.
Just as buses have not been favored by Chesterfield elected officials, high-speed rail has not been front and center on the agenda, even though the Ettrick plan proposes the Ettrick station be left intact.
Although, high-speed rail will affect many residents along the CSX railroad line in Chesterfield – it is coming in 10 to 15 years – at this point those who will be affected need to prepare for the inevitable.