CSX rail line issue a frustrating one

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Sir: Expressions such as, “I have swampland in Florida to sell you,” are slang expressions meaning the recipient shows gullibility.

It says figuratively that someone lacks sense like one who would fall for an old deception or fraud of paying large amounts of money for a worthless item such as swampland.

When I first heard Chatham-Kent was planning to purchase the CSX railway running through Chatham- Kent, that was my first thought.

When I learned the municipality is going to buy the railway, but not run it, I was even more flabbergasted. It seems our council is under a binding contract to purchase the line for $4 million, but also has a pending contract to sell the rail portion to Canadian Pacific Railway for $3.2 million, while still owning the land on which the tracks run.

OK?

But if we sell the hardware to CP Rail, we can’t run trains on it. And the line that runs from Wallaceburg to Chatham – via Tupperville, Dresden and Eberts – is used by several agriculture-based businesses. At least, that covers six months of the year. And it covers only part of the line, because the portion between Chatham and Dresden hasn’t been used in years.

I understand it would cost between $300,000 and $850,000 to maintain the tracks.

Our city managers understand that.

Future use of the track can only be speculated, but the agricultural community warned us about escalating grain prices if the line closes.

Others have talked about its closure resulting in an unprecedented increase in truck traffic.

City managers are warning that a $1.2 million investment and 400 jobs from Chinese companies depend upon retaining the line.

And others are muttering ominous concerns about the tragic rail accident that devastated the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic.

I’m still flabbergasted. I don’t know the correct solution to the problem of the little CSX track.  If you sit in the barbershop, the issue becomes as controversial as the Capitol Theatre.

I have only lived in Chatham a few years. I believe this is a community blessed by God with productive land and great people. There must be a solution and I pray our city managers find it.

 Stephen J. Beecroft

Chatham

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