Rails-to-Trails, Trolley Style

by Steve Bevington, 3/9/10

This week twenty planners and trail advocates met in Richmond Virginia to discuss the feasibility of converting the Ashland Trolley Line Corridor into an ECG segment.  The Town of Ashland has already established a 4000 foot greenway trail and a small trailhead along the corridor.  More than 10 miles of addition trail may be possible leading from Ashland south to downtown Richmond.  With a bit of luck, continued support from local governments, cooperation from landowners and more hard work by volunteers we may someday have a safe offroad trail paralleling US 1 north of Richmond.

The quaint image of a trolley makes it easy to imagine this obsolete and dated mode of transportation as a thing of the past.  Harder to imagine is the day when the internal combustion engine and cars are also things of a by-gone era.  Cars have dominated our personal transportation for 100 years now and we spend almost all of our lives within sight of a road.  Not too long from now, something better than a car or a truck will move us around.  Personally, I hope one day to thumb through a history book looking at photos of the “old days”when people needed cars to get around.  Whether I see that day or not, I am sure that trails and greenways will be a grand part of that future landscape.

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