Sir: In April I wrote a letter to the editor headed, “Turn the rail trail into a trail line.”
I was, of course, referring to our former CSX tracks which the city owns and are oxidizing away.
It seems there are rail trails made from the disused tracks all over the world. The United Kingdom, where railways originated, currently has almost 150 tracks in use, making it the second-largest network of rail trails in Europe after Germany.
It all started with a major program of railway line closures in the 1960s known as the Beeching cuts.
Dr. Beeching was chairman of the nationalized British Railways. His scheme, which upset many rail enthusiasts like me, decommissioned approximately 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of railway lines all over the country.
Many rural and suburban lines were closed along with selected main line trunk routes.
That later morphed into a network of rail trails. Mostly run by local municipalities.
Interestingly enough, the Brits are considering a most unusual scheme to convert some disused London Underground tunnels into subterranean rail trails under the city.
Stephen J Beecroft
Editor’s Note: Rail trails are utilized in many parts of Ontario. For example, through the Kawartha Lakes region, the rail beds are used as walking and biking trails in the summer and snowmobile trails in the winter.
The trail system includes swing bridges, which are left open in the summer to allow for boating traffic and are closed in the winter to accommodate the snowmobilers.
The trail system actually begins south of the City of Kawartha Lakes and runs up north of the Muskokas.