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Richard Crowson: Bob Knight: The Little Engine That Could

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I like trains. I like riding on trains. I like looking at trains.  Heck, I even like songs about trains.

And I guess I really must admit that sometimes I even like getting slowed down at a railroad crossing while a thundering freight train lumbers along. It’s a chance to throw your hands up and say, “What can I do? I’m forced to sit here and take a pause out of my busy day and just watch this train go by.” It’s a break from the routine, as we scurry over the busy ant hills of our daily lives.

But several years ago Wichita got word that the railroads were going to have to route some seriously long coal trains through the heart of our fair city which meant potentially long waits for emergency vehicles and busy commuters.

While I count myself among the weird people who sometimes enjoy a train delay, I’m not for asking a guy who’s clutching his chest in the back of an ambulance to slow down and smell the roses.

So this week we celebrate the opening of the new $105 million dollar, Central Railroad Corridor project.

They got the trains elevated above street level. And they proved that big, costly projects can get done if civic leaders with vision and perseverance stay on track.

I mainly credit former mayor Bob Knight with this success. He ranted and railed, wheeled and dealed, push and strained like the Little Engine That Could until-- well-- he did.

In an age when politicians are frequently accused of taking the low road, here’s one who actually elevated things. Thanks to former mayor Bob Knight for his role in this project.

I’ll just have to get my railroad crossing meditation moments somewhere else…

Richard Crowson is not only a editorial commentator for KMUW. He's also a cartoonist, an artist and a banjo player.