Members of the Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club found my post about injuries on the trail and started chewing on me in the comments.
One point in particular stood out. The aggrieved rail car operator pointed out that bicyclists could ride in a great many places, but the rail car drivers can only operate on a couple of lines in the entire region. Enthusiasts drive hundreds of miles with their rigs on trailers to run the Cotton Valley line.
While I'm no fan of recreational burning of fossil fuels, I have an open enough mind to accept that not everyone will see the sense in that point of view. People like what they like. I don't know what went into the negotiations when the trail was conceived, but it seems generous of the rail buffs to try to accommodate other classes of user.
Viewed in this way, one must describe the Cotton Valley Trail as a rail line that pedestrians and bicyclists get to use rather than a bike-ped trail strangely hindered by vestigial rails. It's the rail club's separate but unequal piece of rail because they CAN'T go play on the big-boy tracks with the real trains. They've been run off to a segregated venue where they won't interfere with the real business of transportation.