Letters to the Editor

Ask Empire residents about rail yard in town

In the lengthy article "Engineering rail's rebirth" (Aug. 26, Page A-1) nothing was mentioned about the intermodal transfer yard we recently had in Empire. Ask the people of Empire about the train traffic and hundreds of trucks on Yosemite Boulevard. That is nothing compared to what is planned for the Crows Landing Naval Air Station. This operation was abandoned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad for the new "monster" yard off Jack Tone Road.

There were no jobs because of the Empire yard, except for the yard operators. Where are the jobs coming from for the West Side?

Escalon is several miles east of the Jack Tone intermodal facility. You would be well advised to talk to Escalon about the rail traffic hazards and interruption through their community. Is this what we can expect for Crows Landing? The rail and truck traffic in and out of that yard is almost unbelievable. In fact, it is worth the drive just to view this operation. Thousands of containers move through this yard weekly.

Why in the world would you take a major airport facility and make it a transfer yard for piggyback containers? If it was all that wonderful, why wouldn't Burlington Northern Santa Fe utilize the Empire yard for Hughson Nut and other like companies? It is already there and workable. It is served by three railroads, BNSF, Modesto Empire and Union Pacific.

In addition, hundreds of trucks deliver and pick up containers at the Jack Tone facility west of Escalon. Hughson Nut could deliver to Jack Tone intermodal yard. How in the world could you improve on this with the West Side operation?

The existing Crows Landing airport could be developed as a major freight facility anchored by an operation like FedEx or UPS with a majority of the freight being handled for international customers. San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento are already overloaded with flights. We could be a major facility for passenger flights when there is fog or too much traffic for other nearby airports. Now you are talking new jobs and lots of them!

I am amazed that the county is giving any interest to the currently proposed use of Crows Landing airport.