Letters to the Editor

A better rail plan

Russ Clemings' story [Jan. 7] about rail consolidation struck me as both important and overdue.

How the city of Fresno plans to cram rail consolidation into the 100-foot corridor occupied by the Union Pacific is totally beyond me. How does one add not only tracks from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, but tracks for high speed rail's non-stop service (with 200-plus mph trains), as well as more tracks for high-speed rail's stop in Fresno?

All this tonnage, ridership and hazardous cargo would have to come barreling through downtown in both directions at incredible speeds, with essentially no clearance. The potential for a catastrophic disaster is terrifying. And with UP, BNSF and high-speed rail each requiring its own dispatchers to control systemwide movement, the risk increases exponentially.

I hope the city and county of Fresno have the character to revisit their refusal of a new $800 million corridor (funded entirely by the state) looping around Fresno to the west for non-stop high-speed trains. Into that corridor BNSF tracks could easily be relocated. This loop could spare Fresno nearly a billion dollars in chasing rail consolidation that is ill-conceived, unfunded and likely infeasible.

Larry Miller