So You Want to Build A Railroad?

So You Want to Build A Railroad?

Op-Ed by Giles Kennedy

Founder and Chief Editor

The Ohio Railroader Website

Ohio Valley Rails Facebook Page

Listen to that opening line. So You Want to Build A Railroad?

You don’t build a railroad physically, emotionally, verbal or financially tearing it down.

I grow tired of those who actually have means to do something, and instead of helping any efforts…talking smack.

(Yet myself and others operate this very website and the companion FB page, go figure)

Let’s be honest….whether be a professional railroad employee, rail contractor, scenic or historical rail employee/volunteer, model railroader, photographer, historian or enthusiast…we are a warped bunch. That is something I do genuinely appreciate…

Just like any thing else in the cyber age; it’s a double edge sword.

Thus why myself, Justin Knox, Todd Rossman, many of the admins and longtime members of the FB page have ran Ohio Valley Rails the way we do. We want the happy medium. We want the family friendly humor. We also enjoy a light hearted jab.

But with the recent change of policy with Amtrak, the ITM downfall (Kentucky Steam intervening, thank goodness), and several other changes or closures; mean blows up on the internet like thermite heating up on a MOW crew.

How do we impact that? How do we counter act that?

Simple, do the opposite.

Let’s start with Amtrak. No matter where you stand politically, Amtrak is the only national passenger option in the States.

Book a trip and ride. If you feel strong about passenger rail; get involved locally with groups like All Aboard Ohio, Transit Columbus and other groups.

Use the internet for a tool for positive change and share your stories and memories of great train rides. That’s the core of what we do here at OHRRer/OVR.

The ITM mess is just that, a mess. But people rally to save what they could to get equipment out, etc. Even start up Kentucky Steam Heritage stepped in. They probably couldn’t do that with out help from local CSX bosses. You heard me right…

There are some people in Class 1, regional, and shortline management who want to see passenger and excursion business work.

Example; the growing relationship between Geneesse and Wyoming and the Cincinnati Railway Company. You would never had the Ohio Rail Experience trips happen. Period.

Also, a few years ago; West Virginia Central (parent company of Durbin and Greenbrier Railroad) bought the Cass Scenic Railroad….

From what I have gathered, that was turned out better than people imagined. In fact, it has helped the flow of tourism in Central WV even more.

Let’s even go more a little more in my backyard.

Marion Union Station Association helped the Cincinnati Railroad Club with hosting SummeRail past few years.

The Ohio Railway Museum has been very successful with guests visiting and restoration/operations.

Midwest Railway Preservation Society (Cleveland) has operated the B&O Roundhouse for the public as well as some restoration projects.

More recently, Mad River and NKP’s efforts towards bringing NKP 757 home.

And the list goes on. Due to my work and family schedule; I can not do physically what I would dream to do for these great folks. So I use the website and FB page to promote and rally support.

Think about that for a second. Support in stead of criticism. Sure, we would live the US, Canada and other freedom loving countries love our freedom of speech.

But, if you wish to build a railroad; why tear it down?

Build or rebuild back it up through promoting said efforts.

If money and time allows, get your hands dirty.

The Ohio Railway Museum is looking for new recruits. I am sure; if you stop by your local rail attraction, they would love your help.

I am proud of all my dear friends who indeed work towards the efforts of railroads; one shape or form.

Please; when a closure or scale down of operations come forth….see what you can do to help.

Again, we are all here for the love of the Iron Horse….


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