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I assume this is the new Golden Gate Railroad Museum construction work. In the distance the track to the lumber yard has a couple of new turnouts, making a small yard ladder.

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Comment by C. P. Huntington on May 25, 2018 at 5:15pm

Check out the third paragraph:
"This bill would require the authority, before April 1, 2019, to transfer its rights, privileges, and responsibilities, excluding any preexisting liability related to debt, litigation, or contractual obligations, relating to both its right-of-way south of a point in the City of Willits and the railroad assets the authority owns to the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District"

Yes, the Veto of the funding package caused harm to any future of the NCRA. That's all in the past now so there's no worth worrying about it. If you want to complain, you should complain to the right person:

Sentator Mike McGuire, 

Comment by Bob Cleek on May 24, 2018 at 5:44pm
"NCRA dissolution bill will transfer NCRA owned easements, track all other property to SMART ownership. Any contracts, obligations and debts will be void. Fingers crossed SMART will maintain NWPCo as the freight operator in order to save taxpayer money and to avoid conflict of interest issues and prevent any lawsuits."

Ya think? LOL

I can't imagine that "Any contracts, obligations and debts will be void." That only happens in federal bankruptcy court. A legislature can't hardly create a circumstance where they transfer one agency to another and simply walk away from the former agency's debts and obligations.

So let's say that's true and, as I understand the bill, the ROW north of Willits is transferred to Caltrans to build a hiking trail to Eureka. (Yea... Right!) So then do the Friends of the Eel River and the rest start demanding that Caltrans removes all the old rails and creosoted ties and cars in the river and on and on at taxpayer expense due to CEQA requirements? Is SMART going to accept liability for any toxics abatement between Willits and Healdsburg?

Frankly, I think somebody with an agenda blew smoke up some legislator's butt. What is needed is to pass a big hunk of the state's $9 billion surplus to NCRA to get things moving on the ROW. The problem is they started an agency to do the right thing and never gave them a dime to do it with. (Deukmejian vetoed the NCRA's funding package when the agency was created.)
Comment by C. P. Huntington on May 24, 2018 at 4:04pm
  • No structures are being built for the GGRM currently.
  • Construction going on adjacent to new tracks have no involvement with the GGRM, nor the railroad. It is an Independent warehouse that has failed to request a rail spur.
  • Passenger moves require special FRA waivers to operate over any movable bridge on the Brazos Sub, so any GGRM excursions will operate between MP 29.10 and MP 48.3 on the Brazos Sub.
  • 2 new tracks were constructed by IRC for GGRM at GGRM's expense. Middle track is still NWPCo operated track to Sonoma Pacific which has not received a car for over a month.
  • GGRM tracks will be under locked derail and flagged with NWPCo locks as to prevent movement onto NWPCo operated tracks.
  • Any future GGRM excursions will require NWPCo approval and will be piloted and/or operated by NWPCo crews.
  • All tracks south of Healdsburg and east to Brazos Junction are owned by SMART, with the exception of privately owned customer spurs. NCRA dissolution bill will transfer NCRA owned easements, track all other property to SMART ownership. Any contracts, obligations and debts will be void. Fingers crossed SMART will maintain NWPCo as the freight operator in order to save taxpayer money and to avoid conflict of interest issues and prevent any lawsuits.
Comment by James Bradley, Jr. on May 24, 2018 at 12:03am

The one thing that everyone is not taking into account is the fact that if the bill to disolve the NCRA passes, the tracks will no longer be owned by NCRA.  They will be owned by SMART.  The GGRM may not even be able to operate on the non-PTC tracks once SMART takes over ownership of the r.o.w.  SMART may also choose another operator besides NWP as the freight carrier, which would also change things regarding the cage and the spur.

The next year should prove to be very interesting, especially with regards to the GGRM.

Comment by Al Merkrebs on May 21, 2018 at 6:35pm

Dave S. makes a good point about GGRM having to run through the cage. But running through the cage has been going on for a while for Sonoma Pacific Lumber, right?

It will be interesting to see what NWP does with the cage, if anything, when GGRM starts running.

Comment by Richard C. Brand on April 9, 2018 at 5:29pm

But as I remember the NWP RoW runs into Lombard which is close to city of Napa and the Wine Train.  Is their any chance that the GGRM may have plans to run up the Napa Valley?  The new owners of of the Wine train are well funded and I expect railfans so what if???

I'd love to see steam return to St. Helena with no derail just south of the town.

Comment by Dave S. on April 9, 2018 at 3:25pm

It's great that the GGRM are moving closer to us in the North Bay, but operationally it's going to be a bit messy if the Schellville cage remains as-is, as the Sonoma Pacific spur runs right through it.  So, if the GGRM even wants to take anything out for a short spin they can't go very far without running into that cage.  As you can tell from the other photos, 2009 was parked on that track.

Concerning PTC on steam engines:  it can be done, but there's no point unless they intend to run on the SMART line, which I would imagine is highly unlikely.  Also, there's no PTC protected track east of Ignacio, that's dark territory.  I would urge SMART to push northward with their limited funds.

A steam excursion from Lombard to Schellville to Ignacio and back would be really cool though!  But my gut tells me it wouldn't be allowed to go over the Black Point drawbridge.

BTW:  a lot of this GGRM talk is speculation on my part.  I can't find much evidence that this is still happening.  Plus, the construction underway looks like a big budget job, perhaps beyond the means of a non-profit group.  There should be a way to track down those permits that Bob mentions below and find out more about the project, including the sponsor.  There had to have been a design review approved by the local authorities.  Sorry, I need to get back to work and don't have time!

Comment by Bob Cleek on April 9, 2018 at 2:14pm

BTW, wasn't it reported that somebody pulled permits for a huge warehouse complex right around there with sidings and all?

Comment by Bob Cleek on April 9, 2018 at 2:09pm

"... will not be publicized at the request of the railroads..."  I guess they don't want mobs of railfans and photographers all over their ROWs taking pictures of the GGRM's steam engine running on tracks that may never see a steam engine again.

Can't wait to see her in excursion service on the NWP Co. I'm wondering, though, is it possible to install PTC on a steam engine? I have a hunch the answer is "no."

Comment by Dave S. on April 9, 2018 at 12:51pm

I kick myself now for not walking that spur.  I don't know if there were any cars in the lumber yard on Saturday.

I would say that the spur is about 7 or 8 miles from Lombard.  In the old days the lumber would have come from the mills up by Eureka.  One has to wonder where those cars are being loaded now.

Sonoma Pacific is essentially a new customer as of June 2015.  (Still can't believe it's been three years since that spur was rehabilitated.)

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