Bonham -- Fannin Rural Rail District's long and arduous process of securing a viable railroad operator that is interested in the railroad tracks east of Bonham officially got underway Tuesday with the announcement that North Texas Pacific Entertainment Group has submitted a proposal.
North Texas Pacific Entertainment Group, a division of Reader Industries, is also the parent company of Orange Blossom Cannonball, central Florida’s tourist train on the Tavares, Eustis & Gulf Railroad.
The proposal will simply allow Fannin Rural Rail District and North Texas Pacific Entertainment Group to enter into what is likely to be months of negotiations.
"Everything we do will be step-by-step with TxDOT," stated Glenn Taylor, President of Fannin Rural Rail District.
Even at this preliminary stage with negotiations yet to begin, the meeting was delayed several minutes with heated questions by Dale McQueen, a staunch opponent of the rail initiative in previous meetings.
Finally, the board decided to continue the meeting and McQueen was admonished for an overwhelmingly negative perspective, which the group found particularly troubling in light of the fact that McQueen is now Director of Bonham Area Chamber of Commerce.
"We are trying to do good things here...for your chamber," remarked board member Richard Davy.
The rural rail board then voted unanimously to accept the proposal and prepare to enter into negotiations with North Texas Pacific Entertainment Group.
The first step will be to meet with TxDOT to verify requirements before negotiations begin.
The next meeting of Fannin Rural Rail District is slated for Tuesday, September 17 at 1:30 p.m. in Honey Grove City Hall, subject to availability.