Valley mother battles against the high speed rail project

FRESNO, Calif.

Their 11 year old son was killed by a train more than 30 years ago. Now they believe, one of the proposed routes for the bullet train will not only run through their property, but over their son's ashes.

Young Bryan Ashford was like any other 11-year-old kid, full of energy. The Ashford's started building a pool in their backyard so Bryan could swim. He never got a chance to use it. But his parents wanted him to forever see it.

"My husband was able to quietly by himself spread the ashes here," Ruth Ashford said. "It was very traumatic for us."

It would be years before they could even look at a train, and then came the high speed rail.

Ruth Ashford said, "The idea that he would be continually run over by this train is more than I could stand I think."

Ruth and her neighbors put up signs. They follow the bullet train's every plan and direction

The rail authority is looking at 72 different combinations between Fresno and Bakersfield. Nothing has been decided, funding is still an issue. And environmental teams are still plowing forward.

High Speed Rail project manager Thomas Tracy said, "We're working as if this is coming."

Action News asked Thomas Tracy about the Ashford's situation. "That is a right of way acquisition issue and there might be something the right of way team can do."

In the meantime, the Ashford's are still remembering young Bryan, and hoping the train will find another route.

Ruth Ashford said, "We have a strong family and we stay together and we tried to have our good times with the memory of the one we've lost."

The preferred route is expected to be chosen in the fall, and the rail authority says if the final plan is approved, construction is set for spring of next year.

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