Converting the long-neglected Manassas Gap Railroad to a bike and walking trail is a needed economic boost for Shenandoah County. I’ve visited and cycled similar rail trail conversions in Virginia, Delaware and Maryland. In each and every case, the trails are popular, provide healthy recreation, and bring in revenue. The Great Allegheny Passage rail trail in Pennsylvania brings in $800,000 of revenue — per mile — per year to trail side communities.

Make no mistake, I do love trains. Growing up in Manassas, I fondly remember the nighttime symphony of trains rolling up and down what was originally known as the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. Some nights you could even hear a different pitch as those steel wheels negotiated the tight turn at Manassas Junction on the way to our Valley. I do miss that train symphony. But trains just aren’t coming back to this part of our valley. Rebuilding this section to support rail traffic would prove to be a tremendous waste of capital. And if the line were restored, what commerce would it haul?

Yes, I’ve heard the discussion about rails with trails. But do you really want your children and grandchildren riding bicycles in a narrow corridor next to an active rail line? Public information meetings about the rail trail are scheduled in each of our communities starting Feb. 27. Please choose one and attend to learn the benefits of this project.

Rod Shepherd, Mount Jackson

(2) comments


I agree with Mr. Shepherd. I believe that most residents of the area would too. Safety first and foremost. It just makes sense. I'm convinced that no matter how much a subject matter is built upon common sense, there will always be an opposition. That opposition can be healthy. We've all witnessed in the past; the best decision will be. Happy Trails.

Brad Skipper

Very well stated, I plan to be at the one in Mount Jackson.

Welcome to the discussion.

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