Dedicated to Sharing the Heritage of Redwood Empire Railroading
The thread on rebuilding the NWP at least to Willits rekindled some thoughts I had on the shippers around Eureka and what's happened to them in the 16+ years since the railroad shut down. Following is a list I compiled of the principle shippers the Eureka Southern, North Coast Railroad, and Northwestern Pacific served and their current status:
Simpson Timber Company, Korbel- was good for 3-5, sometimes more, cars a night. Mill is still open today.
Blue Lake Forest Products, Glendale- was good for 1-3 cars a night. Closed and demolished.
Louisiana Pacific flakeboard plant, Korblex- was one of the biggest shippers towards the end, generally shipped 5-10 cars a night. Closed.
Sierra Pacific Industries, Fairhaven. 1-3 cars a night. Still open.
Louisiana-Pacific, Samoa. Sporadic shipper through the middle 1990s, would occasionally ship loads with long periods of no shipping. Appears to be closed, though recent Google Earth imagery shows a small kiln operation in the vicinity.
Arcata Redwood, Bracut- now part of the overall Simpson operations. Was good for a car or two a night.
Schmidbauer Lumber, Eureka- still open. Was good for a couple cars a night. Still open.
Pacific Lumber Company, Fortuna. Closed and demolished.
Pacific Lumber Company, Carlotta. Closed and demolished.
Eel River Sawmills, Stone. Was the railroad's largest single lumber shipper for quite a few years. Closed and demolished.
Pacific Lumber Company, Scotia. Now operated by Humboldt Redwood Company and is a shadow of what it was in the middle- to late- 1990s.
North Coast Railroad appears to have hit its high water mark, at least traffic wise, in August 1994 when they handled 605 loads during the month- however, by April 1995 traffic was back down again, and from 1995 until January 1998 the railroad experienced a rash of wet winters and generally was able to maintain operations only 8-9 months each year.
The timber industry on the north coast in the middle 1990s was only a fraction of what was there in the 1970s- and not much of what was there in 1998 still remains today.
Great data. So with the new environmentally correct re-forestation methodologies plus the time since the industry has been dormant with no economically viable transport options, is anybody providing a forecast of what could be a constant level of timber harvest from the North Coast?
The last time I was in New Zealand I was amazed at how quickly their forestry business had come back and how quickly Genesee and Wyoming RR had jumped on that comeback.
Thanks for posting this Jeff.
I just spent 4 months writing a paper for my History 490 Class at HSU. (I've been researching for much longer than that!) I focused on the effect that the Island Mountain Tunnel fire had on destroying business for the north end.
My findings were astonishing. In 1975, NWP shipped around 60,000 rail cars. After the fire, 1981 they shipped just 16,000. I'd love to share the paper to some of you interested, I will hopefully be presenting it at one of the Humboldt County Historical Society lectures soon.