This is in response to the guest column by Charles Morrison (March 8).

It is bad enough that Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority’s Patricia Quinn seeks $12 million in federal taxpayer dollars to build an unnecessary layover barn at Brunswick, large enough to simultaneously house three trainsets.

Now comes Rep. Jared Golden with a bill for an estimated million-dollar environmental and engineering study to bring passenger trains to Lewiston; and Sen. Nathan Libby’s proposing a $25 million bond for constructing key pieces (think new Back Cove bridge and waterfront tracks) of the state-owned Danville-Portland segment, formerly belonging to the Grand Trunk Railway.

Morrison speaks of economics. Considering a two-party agreement would be required to allow movement of those trains between Danville and Lewiston due to PanAm Railway’s ownership of that section of trackage, which extends from Portland to Bangor, is well maintained, and from Danville to Portland is shorter and closely paralleling the state-owned line; and, more importantly, not only readily available to use in entirety with the same track agreement the Danville-Lewiston leg requires, and without expending millions in studies and rehabing, but also is the only logical route to utilize.

As a railroad historian for some 70 years with primary focus on that of the Grand Trunk’s former Portland-Montreal line, I am not opposed to restoring passenger service, but I am definitely against wasting money on needless pork barrel construction projects, be they state or federal dollars. And the way Golden and Libby would achieve it certainly falls into that category.

John R. Davis, South Paris


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