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  This next SMART board meeting will have a presentation of the feasibility of connecting Novato to Suisun. This is a state funded study. It should be interest to attend.

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I'll be there.  Let's introduce.  I usually speak to the Board so you will know me I'm sure.

I'm also a member of Friends of SMART.  Are you?

Richard Brand (mmqos)

Just for laughs, we should have a guessing game at the estimated price tag for that extension.  He (or she) who is closest wins!

Wingo and Black Point bridges would probably be replaced.  Brazos will likely need substantial updates.  Numerous smaller bridges and culverts will likely be rebuilt or replaced.  There's a tunnel in Cordelia that will need to be redone.  Miles of track over marshland that will need to be stabilized.  Tons of environmental reviews.  Reintroduce Schellville bypass between Wingo and Ramal?  Realignment of Napa Junction?  Interestingly, not that many highway crossings on this route.

Oh, and this route would have to be rebuilt without major disruptions to NWP customers.

I'm going to guess $625 million.

It is precisely 39.09 Miles to the station. The initial Smart build cost 427,900,000 for 43 Miles. My guess that because there are less crossing signal requirements, that money would go to the bridge repairs. My best guess is the Black Point bridge would have to be replaced as you need to use a row boat to get to it and its slow. The Brazo's bridge would need an overhaul also. So add inflation to the original estimate, somewhere around 483,566,815.00 (Ill round up to 500 Mil). 

My next thought would be, if the tracks were upgraded to Suisun, CA why not have Amtrak Capitol Corridor share the tracks to Santa Rosa, or further to Cloverdale? Make it the Capitol Corridor North...

I like that idea.

I'm not sure if Amtrak's equipment can be used on SMART tracks due to the gauntlet tracks and high platforms.

I'm pretty sure the Amtrak equipment will function on the Gauntlet track. They would have to slow down like freight. As for the platforms, they would not work, but Amtrak could build loading platforms that conform to them next to or adjacent to the smart platforms. San Diego does it with the sprinter train in Oceanside. 

I see. Would be cool if Amtrak used the vacant lots behind the stations in Santa Rosa and Petaluma as terminals.

It was a good presentation.  I am impressed with SMART's Chief Engineer and his data.  But they had NO passenger demand data from the State Transportation Authority (STA) who were the drivers to have SMART do this study which was fully funded by the State.

Short summary of the prez, they proposed two options.  Option 1 would upgrade the RoW to support passenger service from the Hamilton station to the Amtrak station at Suison and would use heavy GE type locos and 1960's surplus coaches.  The Black Pt bridge would be replaced with a used bridge as well as 28 wood bridges but no other bridges including Wingo would have to be replaced.  This option including rolling stock and new platforms would cost $880 and could be in operation in about 4 years after funding.  Would carry about 2100 passengers/day.

Option 2, would be to bring the line up to FRA Class 4 service and carry up to 5100 passengers/day with more passing tracks and either use existing diesels ala option 1 or DMU's or newer electric or other power.  This would cost $1.2+B and take 5 years,

Mansourian made it very clear that their study was done at the request of Calif STA and that any implementation it would not allowed to slow up the build out of the line to Cloverdale.

As for NWP there was no mention of shutting out freight and indeed freight and indeed was mentioned to co-exist on the line for both options.

As for NWP after the meeting I drove up to Willowside and saw 2009 sitting on the spur.  Several hoppers lined up on the entrance but could not tell what was happening or whether they were delivering feed or materials for Lagunitas.


 I read the report myself and support option #2. But I also have ideas and questions.

Since this rail line is partially in Napa and Solano counties, do they have to hold elections to be included in SMART. Will the state contribute funds? Since UPRR owns the track from Napa River to Suisun, will they contribute funds to made infrastructure improvements? Why run a separate rail line from Ignacio Wye to Hamilton Field?  Yes, SMART needs to finish the line original line from Larkspur to Cloverdale first. But can the state help with funds to get this done before 2027?

Just typing as fast as things occur to me.

All good questions.  As to funding that question did come up with the board members who represent voters in Sonoma and Marin County who were promised Cloverdale to Larkspur.  This extension into Napa County would have to funded in part by a tax in that county.

As to options, I would support option 2 except for the wildcard which I mentioned before, a possible Amtrak Calif. connection via a new Richmond San Rafael bridge.  That of course is a long way off.


  I would love an intro but I currently live out of state. I usually visit every year so we could meet. My 94 year old mom still lives in Mill Valley. My guess is 550 mil. Let's make this like the price is right. You cannot go over what it will cost. You go over and you are out.


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