PIRATE JOE’S SOLAR RAILROAD DREAM
©16 APRIL 2009, Pirate Joe.

    O.K. I have a dream. Little old lowly moi. At the risk of seeming egotistical and grandiose far beyond my station (double entendre pun intended), I have an idea that could change the world. It could start right here in Dutchess County, N.Y.
    I’ll get to the point: I want to build the world’s first (as far as I know) solar-powered railroad. It’s a small, cheap demonstrator railroad in fact, designed to show that this idea could work as a practical public transportation alternative (that) would be totally independent of imported oil and nuclear power plants (and for you anti-coal folks, no tie-in to coal-fired plants, either).
    Yea, I know, “what about hybrids?” y’all ask. You may not want to hear it, but, truth be told, hybrids are in fact, junk technology. Yes, they use less gasoline. But you tell me: how is running a vehicle that was charged up by Indian Point (nuclear power plant) any sort of a “green” alternative? We need to do a lot better than that.
    Building a small, demonstration solar-powered railroad could, and I believe would, provide the genesis of a nationwide network of 100% off the grid transportation. Because railroads (steel wheels on steel rails) are so intrinsically efficient, it is the best way by far to get to the goal of 100% renewable-energy powered transportation. Yes, I said 100 per cent.
    Here in Dutchess County, N.Y., we have a semi-abandoned railroad right-of-way part of which could serve as an ideal demonstrator project. Running between Buckingham Place in the Town of Poughkeepsie, it takes a course that leads to a spot right behind the shopping plaza on Burnett Boulevard. This route would allow folks who live in the Buckingham Place vicinity to access that shopping plaza (with its resident supermarket) without using their cars. This choice is ideal for many reasons:
1. It was a railroad, the right-of-way exists and would be ready to receive track with very little (read cheap) work. I have personally verified this by walking the entire route.
2. Its short: just 4 Km. This would keep construction costs low.
3. It could provide, fast reliable service to the people in the Buckingham Place vicinity and along the way.
4. It could attract a variety of grants, costing local government nothing.
5. It might, or has the potential to, attract tourists and other visitors.
6. Since it is based on an existing right-of-way, the most expensive (by far) part of the project (land acquisition and grading) has already been done.
7. It would provide jobs in one of the most important fields for the future of our nation.
8. It would create reams of positive publicity for Dutchess County.

    So what do you say, folks? Are you with me? Do you want to say no to nukes and OPEC? Goodbye to smog and traffic jams? Stop Ross Perot’s “great sucking sound” of jobs being “outsourced”? Know some folks who can help? Call, write or e-mail, all the info is on the front page.

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