Saturday, June 22, 2024

Note to railroad: Be a good neighbor

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 19, 2024)

The problem of the railroad crossing between Texico and Farwell has a logical solution. The various plans floated by state transportation officials aren't it.

The logical solution is for the railroad to be raised over the highway.

I understand why the railroad doesn't want to do this. It would be a huge engineering project and a serious inconvenience for them. It would be expensive and it's easier to let the state soak the tax victims for the cost.

They could claim they were there first; a questionable claim at best.

It's not even the railroad's problem-- if a train and a car, or even a big Walmart truck, meet at the crossing, the train has the right-of-way and is going to win. Size matters, and nothing on land is bigger than a train pulling a load.

The railroad could make the commitment to be a good neighbor and do the difficult thing, anyway.

It's no wonder the railroad wants to stay out of it. Staying silent while others test public opinion on poor attempts to solve the problem you could solve may not attract attention, but I notice. Sherlock Holmes might refer to it as the dog in the night that didn't bark.

If I've missed any substantive and useful input on this issue from the railroad, I apologize. I'm with the majority who also missed them offering a real solution.

After decades of no workable solution for this ongoing mess, the railroad could now sweep in like a superhero, offering to fix it for the people of this region and the travelers who've noticed the problem. It would be a major public relations win. I suppose they could even ask the states to share the expense, although this is never the right thing to do.

I have a mostly positive view of the railroads. I have fond memories of sleeping in a spare room off my grandparents' garage in Farwell; the window open, listening to the trains on summer nights. The only time I have a bad feeling toward the railroads is when I am sitting through the third train, desperate to get across the tracks.

Will the railroad do what's right, or will they keep letting the state propose bad fixes that everyone knows are bad?

But what do I know? Not much about this subject, for sure. I do know this needs to be part of the conversation.

I couldn't do this without your support.

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