Originally created 06/27/99

Plugs rail, electric car transport



In light of what Dr. Christopher Edgens stated (guest column, June 20), most likely he has never been in, or lived, north of Richmond, Va., or anywhere else along the I-95 corridor from there to Boston. ...

If one did not know the area, one would have a very difficult time in knowing where the city, town, or state boundaries are. Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, Chester, Camden, Princeton, Trenton, Newark, New York City, Hartford, Providence, Boston, and hundreds of smaller incorporated towns in between all run together. A typical small town like Lansdowne, Pa. -- one square mile occupied by some 20,000 residents with some light industry and commerce -- is settled in between Philadelphia, Chester, West Chester, and Wilmington, Del., with other towns and townships in between. If 20,000 people per square mile is the norm, there is a lot of commuting. ... Without the mass transit system there it would be chaos. ...

Philadelphia has seven major heavy rail passenger line routes shared by the freight traffic out of the city. ...

A typical morning train stopping in Lansdowne on its way from West Chester to Philadelphia would have 15 to 20 passenger cars in line carrying a minimum of 100 persons per car. By the time one got into the city there would be standing room only. The trip takes only 20 minutes. There is a train station in every town and they are approximately a mile apart, but no more than two or three miles at the most. ...

The way we are growing here... it will not be long before Augusta, Thomson, North Augusta, and Aiken will look very much like the above -- one big city. I know there is a lot of real estate between here and Atlanta, Savannah, Macon and Columbia, but they are growing and it doesn't take much imagination to see the twain meet.

Without question, a rail system between cities and towns down here would be a major asset not only for commuters, but for industry and environment as well. Both freight and passenger trains can use the same rails. ...

An electric catanary system could be erected in the future to accommodate self-powered electric cars that are more environment-friendly. I think the hardest part will be to change attitudes and Americans' love for their cars.

Frank D. Harrisson, Augusta