Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Community Action & High Speed Rail

The recent presidential election brought the concept of "Community Action Groups" to the forefront of driving democracy and providing solutions for the next generation. Although some ignorantly ridiculed the leadership and stature of a community organizer, the American people have awoken to the call to get involved and to take responsibility for the direction of our nation and the communities which comprise it. This is not a new concept however one which has been buried amongst the belief that government and corporations are the primary avenue to provide the infrastructure we depend on. But, there's a noticeable change in the air. One which has the youth ready to dedicate their time and energy to make things happen. And, while the shifting tides resides within the younger generation, it is carrying to all generations as contagious inspiration.

So, what does this mean for high speed rail? After all, trains are the product of large amounts of capital and resources requiring engineering expertise and government approval. Please welcome POWV High Speed Rail. In the mid-80's, POWV was born via the desire of a group of railroaders who fought for what they felt was right for their community and the nation their line was supporting. Other local parties joined the cause and together they found an avenue to protect the Panhandle line from removal. Although the plot details play out like a riveting novel, the basic story of this line being saved revolves around the group pledging to bring high speed rail to the line. Although there were hopes of actually bringing high speed rail to the tri-state (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia) region, the primary intent of the pledge was capitalizing on the right of way's protection if such a pledge was made. Although they weren't able to save the freight running over these tracks, they had displayed an act of courage and won the battle. The following 20 years weren't so favorable for the region as they saw countless jobs shipped overseas and the people who served as the backbone of our nation's infrastructure soon felt the pain, and still do to this day.

Fast forward to today, POWV High Speed Rail is reemerging and embracing its position as a well-purposed community action group. An organization moving with direction to provide solutions for the people, and our collective nation. POWV is moving with a passionate pace to bring place the POWV Corridor into the current discussions for high speed rail. Anyone viewing the current FRA HSR Corridor Map can see the obvious disconnect in the proposed network. POWV's current mandate is to ensure those in the decision making positions see it, understand it, and connect it. Amidst the HSR discussions taking place across the country, POWV sees the monumental challenges in front of it. The other proposals come via State Transit Authorities, Multi-national corporations, and other large scale entities which are expected to be here and have the resources to move decisions. While this is reality, POWV has pledged to do what they feel is right for the broader community and are gaining steam with each person they bring on board. It will be, and has been, a trial by fire approach which is building momentum (along with setbacks) forward. It involves the courage of the people behind it who know what hard work is all about.

It's been nearly 25 years in the making however the time has come for POWV vision to come to fruition. Their intentions revolve around building the next generation economy for a region sitting at the heart of our nation. Their embracing their role as a community action group and energized by the resurgence of community involvement witnessed in recent times. It's time to make Ohio high speed rail, West Virginia high speed rail, and Pennsylvania high speed rail all a reality on a connected network via the POWV Corridor. It's time to put the people back in democracy, and drive a nation forward.


  1. Now that is really saying like it is, I will direct those who need to read thsi in its direction.

  2. Question:Does the panhandle exist as a through ROW? Is is gone through Stuebenville and at the tunnel entrance to Pittsburgh? I know a good bit of the line is recreational trail. Is it rail banked and open for resumed rail use? The Ohio River bridge appears to be useable. Are other bridges on the line in place and useable?
    The panhandle and C&O/CSX are the only WV lines where high speen rail is possible.