Rock Island Line Trail - FAQ, when & how it can be transferred to State Parks, and summary of current situation from Missouri State Parks

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

1. What is the Rock Island corridor?
The Rock Island Corridor is a 144.3 mile section of the former Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad that runs from Windsor, Missouri, to Beaufort, Missouri.

2. Who is the current owner of the corridor?
It is owned by Missouri Central Railroad, a subsidiary of Ameren.

3. What is the current status of the corridor?
In 2014, Missouri Central Railroad began the process to abandon the line in two segments:

(1) between mileposts 263.5 and 262.906 near Pleasant Hill, in Cass County, Missouri;
(2) and between milepost 215.325 near Windsor, in Pettis County, Missouri, and milepost 71.6 near Beaufort, in Franklin County, Missouri.

Missouri Central Railroad is currently conducting salvage operations in the corridor. . . .

5. Is there a deadline for the parties to conclude negotiations regarding the corridor?
The current Notice of Interim Trail Use requires the parties to conclude negotiations by Feb. 21, 2018. However, the parties could request an extension from the Surface Transportation Board if more time is needed to continue negotiations.

6. Why is Missouri State Parks taking so much time to make a decision regarding the corridor?
Missouri Central Railroad has not yet completed salvage of the rails and ties, and Missouri State Parks intends to complete due diligence procedures, which entails examining the state of title, surveying the property, assessing the integrity of the structures within the corridor, and conducting an environmental assessment of the corridor.

The conversion of the corridor into a trail stands to be a significant undertaking, and it is essential to gain a further understanding of the costs, liabilities, and benefits of this potential project. Additionally, as has been the experience with the Katy Trail, the development of a trail and its ongoing operation and maintenance is a large responsibility that requires significant financial resources. The project may also require additional funding sources that have yet to be identified.

MoBikeFed comment: The first 47 miles of the Rock Island Trail, connecting the Katy Trail to Pleasant Hill, Missouri, opened in December 2016.

The ~20 mile segment from Pleasant Hill to the center of Kansas City is under development by Jackson County and the KCATA.

During the negotiations to create the 47-mile Katy-Pleasant Hill segment, Ameren offered to give the next 144 miles of the Rock Island Corridor to Missouri State Parks. This is the section that has been under discussion since 2015 and which Ameren is currently salvaging in anticipation of turning this section over to Missouri State Parks.

This summer, State Parks opened a public comment period and nearly 8000 people responded. The overwhelming majority of comments were in support of State Parks accepting the corridor and building the trail. A "no brainer" many respondents said.

This web page created by Missouri State Parks is the next step in the process the new administration and Missouri State Parks leadership is going through, in doing their due diligence to work out the details how Missouri State Parks can accept the corridor and--over a period of decades--turn it into a usable trail.

Many thanks to everyone who took time to contact Missouri State Parks in support of the Rock Island Trail. Your feedback has changed the conversation about the Rock Island with State Parks leadership.

More about the Rock Island at http://MoBikeFed.org/RockIslandTrail

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