Letter: Anti-rail Menlo Park NIMBY on why rail is "obsolete"
- Published Wednesday, February 13, 2008, by the Menlo Park Almanac
Letters to the Editor
Lloyd misses point of rail plan criticism
Ordinarily, I wouldn't step into a war of words over trivia. It
started with a Jan. 30 Almanac letter written by Katie Ferrick
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/37172>, which made
some major, telling points and complimented Menlo Park Mayor Andy
Cohen for his articulate support of urban mass transit.
A week later a letter <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/37255>
from Arthur Lloyd, one of the local grand old men of railroads,
rather gracelessly sought to belittle Ms. Ferrick's larger arguments
about the inefficacy of the Dumbarton rail plan by seeking to correct
her ostensible errors of date. Why he would bother to do so is
In regard to Diesel's eponymous invention: the actual copyright date
is 1893, when Diesel published his theory and design. That, Mr.
Lloyd, sounds like the 19th century to me. However, that is not
really the issue, is it?
The issue is that steel wheels, running on steel tracks fastened to
wooden rail ties, embedded in gravel called ballast, are indeed an
18th-19th century technology, whether driven by wood-burning steam
power or any other engine type. It is not the date or type of engine
that makes the railroads obsolete; it's heavy "grand, old" steel-on-
steel rail technology in general.
Ms. Ferrick's point is that the Dumbarton rail plan is a giant step
backward insofar as it fails to meet the region's transit needs. Mr.
Lloyd goes on to compliment Caltrain's fuel efficiency, but says
nothing about the fact that Caltrain is merely a single thread of
what should be a complex network of multi-modal transit. And, that
single thread is not good enough.
Stone Pine Lane, Menlo Park
[BATN: See also:
Letter: Facts about diesel locomotives & Caltrain fuel efficiency
Letter: Dumbarton rail NIMBY praises Menlo Park mayor
Comment: I'll say anything to oppose HSR, trains near my condo
Comment: Trackside Menlo Park NIMBY on "scary" push for HSR
Fantasy: Fast, easy, door-to-door transit everywhere for everyone