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 As the late ( how late?) Senator Dirkson one said "A million here, a million there pretty soon you are talking real money."

500 million to renovate NWP trackage to Eureka? Eureka, I've found it as the saying went. I don't think that I would spend 500 million dollars to go to Eureka? I'd rather go to Saint Petersburg, Russia for that amount of cash/money or indebtedness. Think of all the lumber to be brought out of Arcata/Eureka? They could drop a bunch of them OLD redwood trees. Who needs old trees? Just like old folks--time to make way for the young. If Weyerhauser or Boise Cascade had had their say there would be no old woods to fell.

  Besides, since that 500 million will not come out of my hide since I'm going to hide let the money roll like dice upon the craps table. Betcha they crap out  if that funding funds a no-fun no revenue producing line to one of California's least attractive cities--not to mention its educational level.

   I have gone on since I AM a true 49er. Came/went to Cal. in 1949.    

                              Ex-Californian, Steven R.Bell

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Comment by Chad Gustafson on November 17, 2011 at 7:43am

I personaly dont think a shortline in Humbolt would be profitable, without a connection to the national rail network; the NWP. A tourist railroad; maybe, a freight railroad,..I just dont see it happening..

Steven, to rebuild the NWP in the canyon at this point will cost billions, and the NWP will not survive up there unless the container port is built. Likewise, the container port will not survive without a railroad, and both are heavy political debate. Also, you have no idea how to base your figures, making them inacurate..we don't know how many trains a day; a week, or how many cars or what the weight of the cars will be to acuratly gauge fuel costs, let alone other things; or the type of locomotive we'd be using. There's a difference between a GP9 and Green Goat in fuel costs. 

Lets think possitive about getting the NWP up to Healdsburg, then Willits first.

-Chad Gustafson 


Comment by Mike Davis on November 17, 2011 at 7:10am

Uuuuuuhh Steven the Carthaginians didn't build Rome, the Romans
did, Carthage was a whole different empire in northern Africa. Back to NWP, I
hope the NWP doesn’t make some of the mistakes that its predecessors did, for
example, Pacific lumber wanted the EUKA to switch their mill 4 times a day, 7
cars each but EUKA refuse and only did once a day.

Mike Davis

Comment by steven richard bell on November 17, 2011 at 1:10am

How long did it take the Carthagenians to build Rome? Also how long did it take the Romans to destroy the Roman Empire?  Also will the cost of rebuilding line to Eureka be covered by revenues generated from operations much less will revenues cover operating expenses?  I am calculating that operational expenses will amount to better than $50,000/wk. 40 carloads a week @ $1000/car will equal $40,000 = shortfall of $10,000/wk. These calculations may be slightly off--or grossly wrong.

Comment by jbriogrande on November 16, 2011 at 11:47pm

The NWP will generate business.......the tracks will be rebuilt.......the question at hand is......will the amount of traffic generated be able to offset the cost of operating the line.  Maybe.......and maybe not.  Humboldt would be best suited to start looking at rail operations in the Eureka, Scotia, Arcata area for whatever traffic they can move out by barge.  If enough traffic can be generated, and a good deep port can be instituted and built,....then connecting the North to the South would be a possibility.  At this point, the South needs rebuilding, and traffic interests need to be generated to sustain the operation moneywise.  Spurs need to be put in for loading cargo, and marketing folks need to jump on their horses.  Without the North revenue, future operations of the NWP may well be cast to the heavens.  Maybe a fuel crisis will spur this effort forward, and a gravel operation may well be worth looking into.  At this point we can be hopeful.....but I really can't see a container port on the North Coast.  In my dreams I see containers strewn into the eel river basin.  I'd rather see a container reload in Ukiah or Willits to bring in jobs.....of course that would mean a lot of work on 101 every year to keep it in shape.  Be patient with the NWP.....they are making progress.....and ROME WAS NOT BUILT in a DAY.....Keep your fingers crossed, and get the word out................JBRioGrande

Comment by Lawrence LaBranche on November 11, 2011 at 3:57pm

NCRA's plan is to next get up to Willits. Then a Humboldt Short line going. Then if economics allow, the middle/canyon section. The short line idea is doable. I've heard people say the operator thinks it can be profitable.


NCRA's latest efforts to survey the canyon is unpublished. However there was two plans done. The first, was the FEMA $500 million one, which involved building bridges, etc over or around the slide areas. Then NCRA did a more cost effective one of around $125 million from Windsor to points north.

Aslo to rebuff rumors, the line wasn't shut down due to the canyon, it was problems on the south end.

Comment by Chad Gustafson on November 11, 2011 at 7:44am

I agree with Mark, 

It doesn't make good sence at this point, especialy with all the people with fingers on the trigger to sue...

Comment by Mark Drury on November 10, 2011 at 9:35pm

I think most people tend to agree that rebuilding the line through the Eel River Canyon, with or without Eureka as a final destination, is, well, a 500,000,000 to 1 shot.  I don't mean to be overly pessimistic but I just can't imagine an economic scenario where the expense to rebuild and maintain the line makes sense, but I'll gladly be proven wrong.  (Apologies if I'm rehashing what people have already said here but I haven't had a chance to read all the comments yet.)  Regards,


Mark D.

Comment by Dave S. on November 10, 2011 at 10:21am

Mike:  that's good news about north-end tunnel clearances.


Here's something I came across previously concerning rail-line clearance surveys.  Some NWP photos in there:

I thought there was a photo in there of those guys surveying the Cal Park tunnel.


Comment by Mike Davis on November 10, 2011 at 10:08am

In the early 90's the railroad did do an experiment on the NWP with a flatcar that had its frame modified to simulate a double stack car, it was hauled up and down the line and it was discovered that only one tunnel would need to be modified.

Comment by Dave S. on November 10, 2011 at 7:59am

Does anyone know whether all those tunnels up to Eureka are currently large enough to handle double-stack container trains?  I realize many of those tunnels already need a lot of work due to cave-ins and fire, but if all of them need to be completely rebuilt or day-lighted to handle excess height cars, then the cost for doing just that could easily top $500M, based on the $40M cost to reopen the Cal Park Tunnel between San Rafael and Larkspur.  [Granted, that is a double-track sized tunnel, 1100 feet long.]


Remember there is an alternative, cheaper, proposal to get the line north of Willits open.  Instead of trying to completely stabilize the soil to prevent future washouts, make minor improvements to the existing line:  a few retaining walls, more drainage, some stabilization measures, and then budget, say $10M to $50M per year to repair inevitable winter damage.  This will reduce the price tag of getting the line open, and then operating revenue keeps it going.


I think they are still harvesting some lumber up there, certainly not as much in the old days, but there would be a few train cars per day, at least.  Plus gravel, if the line was open.  A container port would be great, but not sure how much that would cost or where the money would come from.  It seems that it would be cheaper than docking and unloading in Oakland, which is beginning an expansion project.  Port of LA is already choked to capacity.

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