Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

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Friends, The northern section of the ROW is under attack from the Rails to Trails folks. Particularly, the 101 corridor between Arcata and Eureka. They seem to have scraped the idea of "Trails with Rails". They are rallying support and have the funding. The trail has begun construction in the Arcata Marsh and they are going to proceed south. They are pushing for "Rail-Banking" the ROW, which we all know will the death knell for the line around Humboldt Bay. This must be stopped!!! Please write/email letters of support for Trails AND Rails to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, California Coastal Commission and any other government agency you can think of. If the rails are declared abandon and pulled, there will be no going back even through the trails people would have you believe otherwise. We can not afford to lose this part of our transportation infrastructure that will be a vital part of port redevelopment and economic growth. These folks believe that the ROW is already abandon and is public property. The Trails people have gathered much influential and political support and, I believe, are intending to push this through anyway they can. At a meeting the other night there was talk of using lawyers to force NCRA to bank the rails. This is an emergency!!! Action must be taken, many pro-rail folks will be attending the next Supervisors Meeting on the 9th.

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Comment by Thad Wuest on December 21, 2010 at 2:33pm

THA is permitted to clear brush on the small portion that we use for our speeder rides and that is it.  Last summer, we were getting the brush cleared for a special 101 ride and some of us moved a tiny bit of ballast off the inside edge of one of the rails.  All heck broke loose when certain environmental groups found out.  The ride was almost canceled.  NCRA has informed us the we are ONLY to clear brush along our little section.  We can not save their railroad for them.  although we can and are gathering the support of the community.  Hopefully, enough agencies and groups will come forward and help NCRA find funding and business to make the line financially feasible for them and our tourist train.  Please write your local representatives concerning this issue.

Comment by Joseph Muller on December 21, 2010 at 2:03pm

While I do not know the entire situation or parties involved, there's a very simple answer on how to prevent a railroad from being abandoned, rail banked, etc.. Provide an incentive to maintain and use the right-of-way for railroad purposes. The most important part of this is making sure that *some* group is keeping the weeds, trees, and brush in check, cleaning up old ties, maintaining some form of ballast, and getting something to "polish" the rails from time to time. Remember that railroads only survive as long as they can be financially supported - if there's no businesses that are willing ship or receive goods by rail, then there isn't an incentive for the railroad or agency to invest in anything more than minimum upkeep. The best thing people can do is get a group like THA active over the tracks and support local industries that will provide incentive to resume service.

Comment by Chad Gustafson on December 17, 2010 at 4:45pm

well, i am suporting getting trains back up on the northern section, but unless the intermodel port opens I cant really see good strong rail service back up in that section. I will support it though

Comment by Thad Wuest on December 17, 2010 at 9:15am

Friends, THA has been in attendance at the last 2 Humboldt Co. Planning Commission meetings and has managed to get the NCRA to notify the Commission concerning the 101 Rail corridor.   While the issue stills exists, the Commissioners now have realized that the ROW is NOT public property, NOT abandon and  that the Commission must be very careful in dictating public policy concerning the Railbanking issue.  The Commission decided to hold off on any further action to approve the language in the General Plan Update until they hear from the Harbor District.   Another point brought up, was whether the Railroad will ever return service to Humboldt Bay in any capacity.   If the local governing bodies around Humboldt Bay don't see some action taken soon by the railroad, be it plans or maintenance,  the issue of pushing for abandonment and then railbanking may be just around the corner.

Comment by Lawrence LaBranche on December 7, 2010 at 4:13pm
Anybody making this wed meeting in Marin?
Comment by Thad Wuest on December 7, 2010 at 10:08am
While Rail Banking does claim to preserve the ROW, Getting it back is highly unlikely. Do you really think that the trails folks, after spending millions on their trail would just give it back? I think not. They would sue, delay and fight tooth and nail. Remember, these are the same folks who are causing all the trouble about the EIR. These are the same people who call themselves Baykeepers, Epic, etc. They are under the false assumption that the rail line is abandon and that it is public property.
Comment by Phil Grinton on December 7, 2010 at 9:41am
It is my understanding that if the ROW is Rail Banked then the ROW is preserved and it preserves the right to reactivate rail service. If the ROW is Abandoned then the adjacent land owners MAY have claim to the land and it is then next to impossible get the land back for any purpose.
Comment by Thad Wuest on December 6, 2010 at 10:38pm
write or email the Humboldt Co planning commission, board of supervisors and everyone else! Tell them that you support Trails AND Rails. Tell them that tearing up the rails is a huge mistake for Humboldt county economically. We cannot allow our transportation infrastructure to be dismantled for the sake of special interests. Tell ALL your friends what is happening!!! We need everyone to show their support for our railroad.
Comment by Chad Gustafson on December 6, 2010 at 4:42pm
How do I help write a complaint????

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