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Good News for the Skunk in the Press Democrat

Found this in the Press Democrat today:

Some good news for one of our favorite railroads that has been struggling financially for a while. I am curious to know what will happen to the old Willits depot when this new transit hub is completed, and hopefully how one day, *fingers crossed*, the NWP will play into this. 


Chad Gustafson

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Comment by Chris on August 2, 2016 at 2:40pm

Comment by Kevin Bunker on August 2, 2016 at 12:00pm

Comment by Kevin Bunker on August 2, 2016 at 11:59am

Follow-up to my comments about the state of the Skunk Train on its west end. Last February, in high windy rainstorms, the empty redwood water tank here collapsed; I had expected that although I was surprised the base frame didn't go, too. The steel bolts holding the timbers together are rusting through at the heads and bolts, and some of the wood is looking pretty punky at critical points.  The enginehouse is a minor disaster, with hundreds of panes of glass gone and the roof losing material with every major wind off the Pacific. At least the Skunk Train people gathered up the redwood staves from the water tank, but I guarantee they won't reassemble the tank.  It's cheaper and easier to run a trickle hose in the Mikado's tender --- when it runs (which won't happen anytime soon -- overnight to get a full load of water.  The run a nearly level grade on this end, so it's water consumption is less.  Besides, when the Northspur redwood water tank wore out, they replaced it with a plastic one (shudder) -- practical, but ugly.

Comment by Kevin Bunker on August 2, 2016 at 11:50am

An update to this, although the news I have is over a month or two old. Local public radio KZYX-FM ran a news story that the City of Willits turned the Skunk Train/Sierra Entertainment Corp down in their bid to acquire the land and structure they wished to turn into a new terminal shops and depot.  The Skunk Train GM whined mightily on the air---rather pathetically---about how unfair this was to them, but the other bidder offered a more sensible adaptive re-use plan to the city.  I suspect, too, that Willits, like Fort Bragg, observes that the Skunk Train/Sierra Entertainment Corp is woefully short on real money and cannot be expected to follow through on their most optimistic "plans" or proposals.  They cannot (so far) even finish stabilizing the west slope of CWR Tunnel #1 above the ruined portal, now cut back a good 100 feet east of its earlier vertical alignment.  There has been no through service beyond milepost 3.3 from Fort Bragg all of last summer and so far this summer. Also no steam this year, which tells me they cannot afford an FRA-mandated refluing of the 2-8-2. When I passed through Willits three weekends ago and drove past the depot, it was a not reassuring sight, even though Motor 100 was in its snazzy new circa 1960s yellow paint. Everything else looked crappy inside the fence.

Comment by Gene Poon on July 8, 2015 at 9:34pm

North Coast Railroad Authority inevitably figures into it, even on a small level, as the Skunk operation will no longer by paying access fees for the use of the former NWP tracks from the CWR junction to the current station.  Nor will they be paying lease fees for use of the Willits station, for which one would hope a means for preservation and upkeep will be found.

Comment by Dave S. on July 8, 2015 at 8:39pm
Interesting. Thanks for spotting this!

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