Lecompton Township official credited with changing railroad’s plans and preserving scenery

Fall foliage lovers have a Lecompton Township official to thank for the view on a scenic road along the Kansas River east of Lecompton, said Lecompton resident Paul Bahnmaier.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad is now completing the installation of a buried electrical line to serve a switching box on the tracks that run parallel to North 2050 Road. The original idea had been for the line to be above ground, detracting from the scenery. The BNSF tracks are between the road and the Kansas River to the north.

Bahnmaier, the president of the Lecompton Historical Society, was among the Lecompton area residents who spoke out in March against the BNSF “butchering” trees in the work area adjacent to the scenic road about a half mile west of East 850 Road. That work was done without a permit in preparation for BNSF’s plan to install power poles to carry the electrical line to a switching box.

The railroad’s plans stalled when Lecompton Township Trustee Ed Daniels refused to sign a permit allowing power poles to be installed, Bahnmaier said. To move the project forward, the railroad eventually decided to bury the electrical line, he said.

“Ed Daniels is the one who made this happen,” Bahnmaier said. “He refused to sign the permit. He withstood a lot of pressure from a lot of directions. There’s not going to be nine power poles because he listened to his neighbors. It’s known as the Scenic River Road, and now there is a chance that stretch can regrow and come back the way it was.”