Maybe it was the Kansas City air, the smell of oil or the sounds of trains coupling up, but it was sometime in early childhood when Charlie Moore of St. Albans caught the train ‘bug.’ And It hasn’t left him since.
It began when Moore’s uncle took him for a ride on a small track inspection motorcar. “He took me for a ride when I was visiting. I was so impressed by the experience, seeing the rails and the infrastructure first-hand.”
Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, Moore was never far from a rumbling train. “We could hear and see them whistling and crossing. They were around us a lot.”
After Moore graduated high school, he worked for his father’s feed mill, loading 100 pound bags of feed into box cars. But he soon realized that he wanted more from life.
The decision to go to college prompted a lifelong career in rail, beginning at what’s now known as Norfolk Southern, where he worked for 30 years. He later found himself at Rail America, a short-line holding company that owned smaller rail lines across the country. He retired after 10 great years. “I thought I was going to stay retired, but I decided I had more to give when David Blittersdorf asked if I would come to work for him.” Moore jumped at the chance to get involved with Blittersdorf’s community rail project by becoming the President of AllEarth Rail a year ago.
“I was so glad to be back in the rail industry. We’re becoming a real team to promote community trains here at AllEarth Rail.” For Moore, promoting regional rail is an opportunity to foster real change within Vermont.
“Blittersdorf and I came from two different worlds. He was on a wind turbine and I was on a locomotive engine.” But Blittersdorf did his research and knew he wanted an experienced rail manager to lead AllEarth Rail.
Part of Moore’s job entails influencing Vermonter’s perceptions about transportation options. “If you’re trying to promote community rail, you need to show people the benefits of getting out of their cars.”
Changing the way people perceive energy and transportation isn’t always easy, but it’s affected Moore on a personal level, and it’s possible for everyone. “Before I took this job, I didn’t recognize the importance of renewable energy. But now when I get in my truck and go down the road, I feel a little guilty. I ask myself ‘what am I doing here? How am I affecting the environment? Has my choice to drive made things worse? How can I do better next time?’”
It’s this sort of thinking that helps spawn positive action. “This is the opportunity to make a difference, getting people out of their cars and on trains to be transported around the state. This is part of the solution for a more sustainable transportation future.”