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Reading on Bridge creek crossing gone, Woodman bridge soon to be removed. Is it time to give up on the Eel River block?


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Comment by Sean Mitchell on April 17, 2017 at 5:47pm

I saw that they required to consider costs toward rebuilding Woodman bridge, but there is zero provision for the design at Bridge Creek, not to mention the multiple collapsed tunnels, and rails in the river. 

I just wonder if it would better for NCRA to just let go of the Eel River with the agreement that plans could move forward for the line to reconnect to at least Willits. I'm not saying I want that, but it would sure reduce the financial burden of the Eel River law suits. 

Comment by Bob Cleek on April 17, 2017 at 12:11pm

Unless a huge amount of federal infrastructure money were to become available, which I doubt is likely given the present Congressional demographics, I don't see a total restoration of the NCRA ROW to Eureka in our lifetimes.  What I do see is a slow incremental extension northward as population pressures and development move north. (e.g. SMART service to Cloverdale is going to result in development there, and so on.)  As that occurs, industry will likely develop along with it, and require rail service... one turnout at a time.  If NWP can stay the course, over the long haul, it may well become a very profitable short line.  I have to say, though, that the extremely high costs quoted for turnout installations ($1M to reinstall Lagunitas? !!!) are a significant deterrent to that process.  I expect a lot of the turnout cost reflects SMART's state-of-the-art automatic control system and grade crossing signaling.  At some point, I think NCRA is going to have to put the gun to SMART's head and make SMART ante up for the additional cost load SMART's fancy system is creating for NCRA.  The politics of it all are rather interesting.  IMHO, the biggest problem is the fact that SMART is run by a board of local politicians. NCRA is also a governmental agency, but its board does not appear beholden to a local electoral constituency.  SMART's board 1) knows little about running a railroad and 2) places the interests of getting elected of the various politicians on the board ahead of the commonsense operation of their railroad. (e.g. the dust-up over LPG tank car storage on "their" tracks in Schelleville.)  On the other hand, NCRA sometimes seems more interested in keeping its own head above water financially than anything else.  (Which isn't to say that the long-serving NCRA board hasn't been responsible for the return of the freight service we now have.)  Financial solvency isn't a bad thing and I don't know all the pressures under which NCRA might find itself, but there is much NCRA does that leaves me scratching my head.  For example, I don't understand why they traded Lombard (or is it Schellville) to Ignatio to SMART for Healdsburg to Cloverdale, or sold off yard property in Petaluma or Ukiah or wherever.  There's no question NCRA benefited from SMART's infrastructure improvements, but it seems sometimes that SMART plays the bully with NCRA. The inherent tension between a SMART passenger system which is controlled by local politicians and an overlapping NCRA freight system which is not will likely continue to pose a challenge to efficient management as time goes on.  As for pushing the line north, though, I think it will be less a "build it and they will come" sort of process than a "they came and they want it built" sort of process.

Comment by Emilio Galo on April 17, 2017 at 10:08am
Carl, the Eel River is about 171.2 miles north of Cloverdale. Richard is right about this.
Comment by Emilio Galo on April 17, 2017 at 10:06am
Really hate to admit it, but you guys might be right about NWP not reopening up north. Could the Dos Rios portion could be repaired in the future? That is, if NWP or Smart ever gets up past Cloverdale.
Comment by Richard C. Brand on April 16, 2017 at 10:34pm


You have a right to your opinion but that statement makes no sense.  The Eel River is WAY north of Cloverdale and even Willits.

If you disagree, justify your post.

Comment by Chad Glover on April 16, 2017 at 8:38pm
They are taking out the fill and moving the creek back to north in its original course. And Steves right they are putting in new abutments and filling in the man made channel where the bridge is now.
Comment by Steve Atnip on April 16, 2017 at 8:15pm
part of the plan is to put in new abutments, see video
Comment by Carl O'Connor on April 16, 2017 at 7:04pm
I think at this point it's probably time to give up on anything north of Windsor. I don't see smart or ncra going north anytime in our lifetimes

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