Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

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  This next SMART board meeting will have a presentation of the feasibility of connecting Novato to Suisun. This is a state funded study. It should be interest to attend.

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Mike mentioned a $427M figure for the initial 43 mile route.  I remember reading somewhere else that the total actual cost is well over $700M, or closer to $1B.  Of course, I can't find that now, but I did stumble onto something VERY interesting:  a SMART report on Systemwide Expansion:

https://scta.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/State-Rail-Plan_11.0...

Check out page 59 in this report:  Novato to Solano Hub.  Page 61 shows an estimated total cost of over $800M.

Richard Brand:  beginning on page 38 is section 5, "Freight Rail Investment Strategy"

Many other interesting pages in this report!

Dave: I can count on you to provide important info and you know how I feel about the huge overloaded trucks on 101.  I had never seen that 2017 presentation and will keep it in my back pocket when I go to the SMART BoD mtgs.

On a side note, I think it would highly benefit the riders of the North Bay if SMART also connected over the Golden Gate bridge to San Francisco. It has been discussed. Then the North Bay would be pretty setup with access to Oakland and San Francisco + South without having to use a Ferry. We have ferry's in Seattle and they are a pain in the ass... I only ride them as entertainment for the kids...

Michael:

Great thought but unrealistic.  The rails thru San Francisco serving the waterfront and over near the south end of that bridge have long since been removed and the RoW developed. 

A more realistic option would be to make a rail connection from San Rafael and the link to Larkspur now in construction over the Richmond San Rafael bridge space where there is an active UP and Amtrak line which connects with Oakland, San Jose and points south and east.  The existing bridge is falling apart from abuse from heavy trucks and there is a need to build a replacement.  Of course that won't happen in my lifetime.  But would preclude having to retrofit the Gate.

Out of how many times I have driven over the 580, I still forget about it. That would be a fantastic use of that old thing. 

I read the report on SMART's site. I would support Option 2 more... I did notice that there is a huge contingency budget on their estimates. Not that its a bad thing, but I think SMART doesn't want to have another "we broke" moment. 

 I wonder. Where does one find a used railroad bridge? I know the Petaluma river bridge was once in service at Galveston, TX. Coos Bay Railroad just finished a major overhaul of a swing bridge.

eBay???

Seriously I wondered about that too as a new bridge is very expensive.  The engineer said the existing bridge is not salvageable and replacement is required.

 There are two Novato to Suisun feasibility studies on the SMART website.  The one released May 3rd is 93 pages long with a letter from Manisourian to California dept. of transportation. The other study is only 39 pages long. Among other things it turns out that SMART owns the Right of Way all the way up to and including the Brazos Bridge. They even point out a local railroad lift bridge that is currently not used since 2000, the Alameda-Fruitvale Railroad Bridge. They are thinking that would be a good choice to replace the Black Point bridge. A lot more information. They want to do this but the state will have to pay for it. No money from Amendment Q will go to this project. They are using the crowding on HWY 37 as an alternative to sell it.

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