On Friday, February 20, 2004, Ed Harris, Public Relations Manager of Norfolk Southern Railroad visited London to discuss our request to proceed with construction of the trail along the low-use industrial rail spur corridor through downtown London.
Mr. Harris was accompanied by Norfolk Southern Regional Trainmaster Gordon Patton, along with Lou Jannazo, Chief of Project Development for the Ohio Rail Development Commission.
Norfolk Southern had previously rejected a proposal submitted by the Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails and the City of London in 2003, due to liability concerns. FMCPT has submitted an appeal of this decision, and this meeting was an important first step in continuing discussion on the matter.
The meeting began at Buckleys Deli with a brief discussion and exchange of ideas before proceeding down Main Street for an actual tour of the entire corridor area.
During the tour of the corridor, we were joined by Neil Parrish of the Church & Dwight Company - the only remaining customer of Norfolk Southern utilizing the industrial rail spur. Previous planning meetings have taken place with Church & Dwight Plant Manager Dave Jones, and they are in strong support of the trail plan.
Although Norfolk Southern still has serious safety and liability concerns with allowing a trail to run so closely parallel to their active track, we are encouraged that they have agreed to continue discussion.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Harris requested aerial maps of the corridor with detailed measurements of some of the critical areas of concern, to give him the opportunity to review our request in more detail with his legal and real estate departments. This information was hand delivered to Mr. Harris on Wednesday, February 25, and we are looking forward to the next steps in the process.
We appreciate the support and enthusiasm of the following individuals who represented London during the meeting: