Some 32 miles of soon-to-be-abandoned Union Pacific rails from Echo to the old Phoston fertilizer plant along U.S. 40 could be used as a bike path rather than a local railroad, says the Park City planner.
Myles Rademan told Summit county commissioners that abandonment of the track has been delayed by one to two months.He has been working with Rails to Trails Conservancy, a national non-profit organization which uses the federal "rail banking" act to help save abandoned train tracks and rights of way.
Under rail banking, a railroad's right of way can be used by other parties for an interim period. But if the occasion arises for the right of way to be used for mass transit, it can be converted.
Since the fall of 1986, Summit County officials and others from Wasatch and Utah counties have been discussing purchasing the line from Union Pacific and creating a Tri-County Railway for commercial and recreational purposes. The owners of the Heber Creeper also have talked with UP about salvaging the line before it is abandoned.
But when Tri-County Commission met with UP officials to negotiate a possible purchase, railroad officials said the track is worth $1.67 million - $850,000 for the land and $820,000 for the tracks.
Since county officials haven't responded to UP's $1.67 million estimate, Rademan told the commission: "My feeling was that the original plan had fallen apart."