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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

RAIL GOOD

AmtrakGeorge says his grandfather used to be able to travel from his farm in rural Chaseburg all around the area - Coon Valley, Viola, Viroqua, etc. - on a train. You can still see where the tracks used to be along parts of Highway 162 between Chaseburg and Stoddard.

My grandmother's house in Johnston, Iowa was across the road from a railroad track that, I believe, carried "commuters" from this rural area adjacent to Des Moines into and out of town. I think the line was originally built to carry recruits for WWI from the big city (probably another rail line) to Camp Douglas, just up the hill. (Ok, yes, now this is interesting:

Des Moines & Central Iowa - A Capsule History - This interurban operated out of Des Moines in a “V” shape, with one branch going northwest to Perry and the other branch going northeast to Colfax. It was an electric line until after WWII ...

Timeline:
* 1899 The Inter-Urban Railroad was incorporated. That name was used in the early era.
*1902 The line to Colfax was built. Colfax had some resort prospects and there was also coal along the line.
*1906 The line to Perry was constructed with a side-branch to Woodward.
*1918 –1920 Military traffic was provided to Camp Dodge.
*1922 The line is renamed the Des Moines & Central Iowa.


I keep saying, our motto, especially since the election of Ronald Reagan, should be BACKWARD. But apparently, you can only go back so far before you flip off the edge of the Mobius strip and start moving forward again. Or something.

So, here's a great article from Daily Kos, a little good news for a change:

A nearly $15 billion Amtrak bill passed the House Wednesday as lawmakers rallied around an alternative for travelers saddled with soaring gas prices.

The bipartisan bill, which passed by a veto-proof margin of 311-104, would authorize funding for the national passenger railroad over the next five years. Some of the money would go to a program of matching grants to help states set up or expand rail service. ...

The White House has threatened a veto, saying the bill doesn't hold Amtrak accountable for its spending. But similar legislation has passed the Senate, also with enough support to override a veto.

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