If a high speed rail system is built between Albany and Buffalo as part of President Obama's transportation stimulus package, don't expect a stop in Batavia, according to Tim Hens, county highway superintended.
"They won't stop for us now, so I can't image they will stop for us at double the speed," Hens said.
Hens said its his understanding that the high-speed line will only stop at major cities.
There hasn't been a rail stop in Batavia -- which was part of history when Lincoln's train stopped here -- in his lifetime, which means for at least 35 or 40 years, Hens said.
There currently is an Amtrak route that heads east from Buffalo and the trip to Albany can take seven hours or longer, Hens noted, with stops to yield right-of-way to cargo trains and whether being two factors that can increase the length of the trip.
"You can drive a car there in half the time," Hens said.
Hens advocates a new dedicated line for a high-speed rail, but that would entail a great deal more expense, including new passenger stations and switches. The only place to build a rail without acquiring new right-of-way is along the path of the Thruway, but the Thruway Authority, he noted, has it's own agenda, which includes collecting tolls from drivers who might opt for rail over car travel if it were available.
While a rail stop in Batavia could be beneficial to the city, Hens said, it's just too close to both Buffalo and Rochester to efficiently run a train between spots so close together.
"You would get up to speed about half way from Buffalo and need to slow down to stop in Batavia," he said.