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The Daily Planet's Opinion: February 2018
Sunday, 11 February 2018 11:36

Passenger train between AVL and HVL? A great idea

We heartily encourage Hendersonville train enthusiast Larry Morton  — and his supporters — in his efforts to promote the bold idea of launching passenger rail service between the Hendersonville depot on Seventh Avenue and Asheville’s depot in Biltmore Village.

A couple of months ago, Morton unveiled his idea before a gathering of Henderson County movers-and-shakers and he did the same thing in Asheville in January in front of Asheville and Buncombe County leaders.

We think Morton is a visionary and he seems to have quite a bit of business sense. A major drawback to his plan for the short-line operation is that it would not be feasible to run as a regular commuter train because the available track limits passenger rail cars to travel no faster than 30 mph.

Also, the first run of the day would be too late for commuters, and the last one, too early, because of limitations that give priority to regularly scheduled freight trains.

In his latest brainstorm, Morton is proposing that entertainment be offered, along with the rides. For instance, a train car (or cars) could serve as a rolling diner. (We think a “drinking” car, stocked with craft beers, could be a winner, too.) At night, the train could offer a cabaret on wheels, where bands and comedians perform.

The service, if approved, would be run by a commercial short-line railroad firm — and we encourage local officials to throw their support behind this novel idea.



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