Today, it's the grandees of Connecticut carrying on the same tradition. Don't you dare straighten out the Shore Line in Old Saybrook with a bridge high enough to let yachts pass under it.
In Old Lyme, across the Connecticut River from Old Saybrook, about one in four residents signed a petition objecting to the bypass, which at one point involved elevated tracks through the downtown, a backdrop for the 19th century American Impressionist movement. That design has been scrapped.Never mind that French impressionists would set up easels in railway stations.
Don't think of tunnelling under the estates, either.
Officials are talking about a tunnel instead, where the Connecticut River meets the Long Island Sound, according to First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder.Let's be grateful she's not raising the canard about improved train service bringing housebreakers, who will schlep their swag back to the big cities on the train.
“Even with a tunnel, you have venting, and that has to come out somewhere, and you have vibrations,” Reemsnyder, 62, said by telephone. “It’s already had a negative effect on house sales. A line on the map already has done this community damage.”
Perhaps the people in the northern suburbs of Chicago, who are objecting to improvements along the Hiawatha route, ought to buy the Connecticut houses. There aren't many freight trains left on Amtrak's fast lines.