Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

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The City of Corte Madera wants a SMART station and Track to Larkspur

   Just imagine this is a true statement. What would it take to get Corte Madera added to the SMART system. First off I know that the entire system from Larkspur to Cloverdale must be finished first. Here is something that a lot of people don't know. SMART already owns the Right-of-Way all the way into Corte Madera. How would this get done or started?

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the row in larkspur has a large water main in it going all the way to Corte madera tunnel

the row over Sir Francis Drake Was Removed because the Trucks keep hitting it .

part of the row is a bike path now bridge built in the way of the row to corte madera

i used to live in larkspur off of Alexander ave

An extension from Larkspur Landing to the Village shopping center in Corte Madera would be over publicly owned right-of-way.  It used as a trail but could be developed for a shared rail-trail use.  There are no residential neighborhoods in this sector of the r/w. 

The challenges, beyond the need for SMART to serve Healdsburg-Cloverdale next, the extension east to Suisun City, the EIR and the planning expense, is the bridge over Corte Madera Creek. But the potential patronage, particularly for the center's workers, would be great.

IIRC, there was a station, a "whistlestop," perhaps, in Corte Madera just south of the drawbridge and it was called "DeTour." Perhaps that's what they've got in mind.

Actually, while it's a bit late now, given the Larkspur Ferry Terminal development, there was a spur off the NWP mainline east of 101 that ran from around the south end of the drawbridge, behind what is now The Village shopping center, (ROW is now a hiking path there,) and out to the old Navy Net Depot, I believe. I don't think it ever connected with the line in Tiburon, though. 

Hey Bob glad to hear from you again.

There was that quarry just south of the tunnel that must have had a spur but I don't think you are referring to that.  When I was in the CM shopping center yesterday I saw an elevated embankment south of the drawbridge and parallel and east of 101 running towards the shopping center.

I tried to view on G. Earth but it needs to be seen from ground level.

Yes, that's what I was talking about. It wyes off of the ROW when the ROW takes a turn to the west below the drawbridge. It may have been only a temporary spur laid down during the War. Or I could be completely wrong and the berm behind The Village is just a dike. There was a lot of activity at the Net Depot during the War. They built and maintained all the anti-submarine nets strung across the Golden Gate out of there. It could have been used to carry in construction fill out there, too, I suppose.

The Net Depot was originally a big codfish cannery and then it was bought by the Navy in 1904 because it had water deep enough to berth battleships. It was a Navy coaling station when ships burned coal up until 1930. I expect they would have hauled the huge amounts of coal needed to fuel the fleet in by rail, not trucks. After that, Roebling and Sons used it as a staging area for the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, all the Bridge cables came out of there. After that, the Net Depot produced all the anti-submarine nets for the West Coast and the Pacific, making something like 100,000 tons of netting during the War. It sure seems to me that all of those operations would have required rail access. I think the line ran around the edge of the shoreline.

It seems we need to get caught up on the old NWP r/w.  The mainline north from Tiburon ran through two tunnels, emerged onto the marsh at Corte Madera opposite the Village shopping center, and then north across the creek into Larkspur Landing where SMART is building its so-called ferry connection.  The cut-off from Detour to Baltimore Park connected the mainline with the the road to Sausalito.  All of the cut-off r/w through Larkspur and most of central Corte Madera is now a bicycle/hiking trail running through old established residential neighborhoods.  There would be very little opportunity to resurrect rail on the cut-off but -- from Larkspur Landing to the Village shopping center the r/w is in public ownership (SMART?) and assuming funds for a new bridge over the creek were available it could be a realty. Don't hold your breath as it would be after Cloverdale and probably Suisun!!!!

The old Sausalito branch began south of the draw bridge under the freeway and passed by Handicup factory which was a rail shipper.
After tiburon closed the line ended at the old Interbay lumber company just south of Corte Madera.

They would need to make space next to the bike path paved over the old NWP rails. I don't know if the rich south-Marin NIMBYs would like that too much.

Guess we up in Sonoma County would have to offer those NIMBYs free once a month wine tasting if they came up on the train.

Actually I need to suggest to Doug Bosco that the NWP borrow some of the rolling stock from the Napa Wine train to run a Sonoma wine train for a period.  I know he does not want to get into the hassle of transporting passengers but it might be politically wise to help convince Marin Cty voters to vote yes on the sales tax extension and get the line opened up thru Healdsburg.

I'll talk to him about that next week.


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