Mike Marchand from Shingle Springs wrote a letter last week in opposition to a tourist train on the old railroad tracks in El Dorado County. Apparently he believes this is an outside county entity bringing a train of tourists into our county.
I am a volunteer worker on the El Dorado Western Railway, which is based at the El Dorado County Museum at the Fairgrounds in Placerville. We have been restoring and repairing old railroad equipment for the past 20 years. Recently we cleaned up the transportation corridor right-of-way and hauled away rubbish, which will benefit the trails folks too. We expect to have trains on the tracks in the El Dorado area soon.
However, trains on the rails will not compete with the folks who enjoy riding, hiking and the use of horse trails. Quite the opposite; there is plenty of room on the transportation corridor beside the tracks for riding, hiking and horses.
Since the rails will be used by local county residents, the El Dorado Western Railroad is not operated by an “outside county entity.” And since the riding, hiking, and horse trail folks will share the right-of-way with the rail fans, we will not be “taking away our walking, hiking trail” as Mr. Marchand suggests. Since the railroad will probably operate two days a week, meeting a train on the rails will be an infrequent sight.
As I ride the trains, I’ll wave at the folks on the trails. Now let’s all go have fun on the rails and trails!