What happened to our railroads?

June 7, 2016

An opinion column by Jerry Ginther the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier

EDITOR’S NOTE: A former Sullivan and Charleston resident, Jerry Ginther writes a column the first Tuesday of each month in the JG-TC with his remembrances of years gone by in Charleston, Sullivan and the area.Website Insert Perfect Answer copy

If you are less than 30 years old you are probably unaware of the vast railroad system that spread over this country like a web prior to the mid 1980s. There are few visible reminders these days. Many of the rights-of-way where the rails laid were abandoned after the steel was retrieved; others were abandoned leaving the rails to rust in place. The high centers of the rail beds where the tracks once laid are still visible in many parts of the country, running through the landscape like a scar and a fading reminder of these once busy railroad corridors.

Some may still be seen along a few of our nation’s highways, but in time nature will erase all evidence of a roadbed. If you are over 30, perhaps you have called attention to these vacant rights-of-way in the area where you live as you traveled about with your children or grandchildren.

So, why have so many of these rail lines, which were the most efficient movers of all sorts of freight, disappeared from the landscape? There are several contributing factors, but I’ll discuss a few, which I believe were the most significant.

Click here to read the complete story.

 

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