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Trolley from Aptos to Westside of Santa Cruz gives preview of possible new railway system...

Trolley from Aptos to Westside of...

APTOS, Calif. - City officials around Santa Cruz County are looking at new ways of decreasing traffic congestion.

Today some Watsonville elected officials took a ride on the Daisy trolley from Aptos to the Westside of Santa Cruz to see a preview of what could be a new railway system.

The Daisy Trolley, which is normally used for leisurely tours around Santa Cruz County, gave officials a look at what could be a railway used for residents to commute to work or just get around the County.

"I think the more people ride it, the more they get the idea of how fabulous it would be to have regular, daily passenger service instead of that terrible highway," says Barry Scott, with Friends of the Rails and Trails.

The rail transit system would run 22 miles along the coast from Pajaro Valley to Natural Bridges on a rail right of way that has been there for years and continues north to Davenport.

The project would also include a bike and pedestrian trail alongside the train tracks.

Something Watsonville officials we spoke with say this would not only help with traffic, but the health of the environment too.

"You can see the congestion from the rail line on the highway, we've seen it, it is needed and it's a publicly owned right of way already and so let's get the public on it," says Watsonville Mayor Lowell Hurst.

"If we can move some of the, traffic and cars onto the rail transit, you know 10 years down the line, 20 years down the line, no matter how long it takes, i think that's a good thing for our climate, for our earth, and to reduce our carbon footprint," says Watsonville City Councilman Felipe Hernandez.

Trina Coffman-Gomez, with Watsonville City Council says, "we have obviously the cars that become a parking lot on Highway 1, if we can make some alternative options for people to select to get around and move passengers in any capacity, this is an option we should look at."

Long time Santa Cruz resident, Charles Yaryan, says he likes the idea.

"I think this is a wonderful idea for among other things, just for fun. But also for a new way of getting transported around the county."

But not everyone is a fan of rail and trail. Other groups are pushing for trail only, citing concerns about noise...some calling it the train to nowhere.

We're told the train would be an electric-hybrid or battery-electric, which would make it less noisy. And while planners have most of the money for the trail portion of the project, the funding for the railway is still being worked out.

For more information on the new proposed rail and trail project, click here.

If you are interested in more information on the Daisy Trolley that was used for the tour, visit www.scrailtours.com.


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