Letter: Consider bus to rail idea | VailDaily.com

Letter: Consider bus to rail idea

Sometimes a difficult issue needs a creative solution.

Eagle County has a great bus service, but they must travel the highways to get from town to town in the valley. There is a rail line that runs through all the towns in the valley. Why not combine the two and use the same vehicle to do it?

The Union Pacific Railroad has many vehicles that service the track that travel the highways and the tracks. Trucks pull off the highway, lower wheels that engage the track and then travel down those tracks.

Why not do the same thing with buses? Convert or purchase buses to also travel on the tracks.

A bus in Gypsum could stop at a couple places in town, drive to the rail line, get on the tracks and head east. It could even leave the tracks in some areas, pick up additional passengers and continue on to the east. At Dowd Junction, it could leave the rail line and drive the roads into Vail.

This could also be applied to the rail line that connects Dowd Junction to Leadville.

These buses would probably have a better on time schedule because weather would not impact travel to the same degree. The trip may actually take less time. Highway closures and delays would not be an issue. Parking problems for many people would be eliminated. Biofuels that are carbon neutral might get better mileage or electric buses could be used.

This idea would require construction of terminals at road/rail connections. It would require extra track in some places to allow buses to pass each other going opposite directions. Crossings would need special signage and signals. Would the owners of the rail line in the valley allow this change in use?

This may seem like a crazy idea, but other countries are doing it and some companies have developed some special vehicles for that purpose.

Colorado has used the railroads historically with the Galloping Goose. The Galloping Goose was a popular name for rail cars that were built using full-sized automobiles. The trains carried the heavy cargo and the “Geese” moved mail, lighter loads and people between many towns in southwestern Colorado from the 1930s to the 1950s. They were more economical than the large, expensive steam locomotives and trains. The “Geese” did not use the roads in that era, since roads were not available. The “Geese” were phased out when engineering allowed the construction of highways between the mountain towns.

Some Galloping Geese on display in Southwestern Colorado:

Rick Spitzer

Rick Spitzer

Rick Spitzer

Maybe it is time to get creative and rethink this idea.

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