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This shows the Eureka Yard after it was razed.
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where did those boxcars go?
Great photo and comments -- thank you all for sharing! Also wanted to make certain all of you had seen the HSU Library Shuster collection of photos, found in this album: http://nwprr.net/photo/albums/humboldt-state-universitys. Some of the best high-resolution aerial photos of the area from the ~1940s you are likely to see. Regards,
Jack I like reading yours and everyone else's comments and of course don't mind (its not my site anyway). Time and convenience have become so much the standard of living that rail has its troubles. When my parents moved back out to Petaluma,CA from El Paso in 1945, they did not have much stuff, but what furniture etc they did have they shipped by rail. My grandgfather bought a new 1933 Dodge pickup while on a trip to El Paso and had that shipped to Petaluma by rail. Now people would call a mover who would pickup and deliver door to door in a matter of a few days. Cheaper? I doubt it but convenience not comparable. JOKINGLY, if they lowered vehicle speed limits to 25 freeway and 15 everywhere else, our country would change. Mass transit would work, people would live close to work, no urban sprawl, rail and waterways would be revived, two lane roads would become four lanes and light vehicles (golf cars) take thin ashphalt so roads cheaper, last longer. Trucks half current size, more driver jobs=advantage rail. No drive by shootings (could not get away) and you could take time to wave to fellow drivers instead of road rage and the sign. One trip to shop per week instead of 3 per day. Oh yeah, that Was our world 75-100 years ago. Real progress? Family TV fizzled in about 1961, parents went to biggest TV store in Petaluma and ORDERED new 21 inch color in maple cabinet (mom!) and shipping was 4 to 6 weeks. No doubt from back east by rail, and people were patient, as that was the norm. Today we all want it now or to get there now, and in the long run we pay quite a price overall.
Jim and Mike. I lived in the Eureka yard for a few years, as you may know from other photos, and during those years in the early 1960's, I can testify that the boxcars outnumbered the flatcars in the yard.
But what you would see at the port was the opposite. The cargo going out on ships was primarily lumber and chips and it all arrived by rail.
Living just a few feet from the tracks and feeling the impact of boxcars being thrown about as they built the trains, my recollection is that the boxcars arrived in Eureka full and most of them left Eureka empty.
I have never been directly involved in railroading at all, other than living in the yard for a few years. I simply came and went went, either to school or to work at the TV station. But one does not need to be an insider to realize that rail transportation makes more sense than trucking.
I think smashing boxcars together resulted in a lot of cargo damage and boxcars got lost on sidings for weeks at a time and customers switched to trucking because of it, but boxcars are better now and tracking is state-of-the-art so rail can compete. It would help if they had better acess and facilities at ports such as Long Beach and Los Angeles. The space devoted to rail at either one is tiny.
They should also bring back soemthing like Railway Express for companies that don't have a full container or box car.
Also, I recall passenger trains were elegant, stylish, and romantic. As I am no longer in a hurry, these days I prefer Amtrak to the airlines. Sadly, Amtrak is not so elegant and destinations are limited.
I neither smoke nor drink, but I travel frequently on the MetroLink commuter trains in Southern California and I am convinced that the only way for them to succeed is to have a smoking car and a club car. Also, in the short term, its almost as cheap to drive. Until the trains are frequent, safe, convenient, reliable, and comfortable, people won't want to ride them. For example, if on a weekend I wanted to take a train to downtown El Lay to see a show, have dinner, go to a game, or whatever, the only train back is an hour after the train there arrives. It seems as if they will do anything to discourage riders. What can you do in an hour?
Just a few thoughts from an uninvolved observer. I hope you don't mind.
You said it. Rail is naturally cheaper and more environmentally friendly. I have a friend who retired from Standard Oil in Richmond several years back, and at that time they used 500 miles as the break point for shipping by truck to rail. Now with the economy and fuel prices, plus the emphasis on emmisions, I would think the break point would be considerably less. And now with all the talk of State, County and Cities trying to lower their "carbon footprint", it would seem like a no brainer for infra structure grants. But NCRA doesn't get ANY funding from state since its founding in 93? Maybe Warren Buffett could take it over? LOL Maybe they could incorporate and sell shares to the public? I could probably afford one or two shares myself :)
See, and that is what I don't get, rail is one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transport available, they should be supporting it. I am a big nature guy myself, I love the outdoors up here ( I live in Redwood Valley myself) rail helps preserve these natural areas, and excursions and passenger trains bring people in to learn and appreciate them even more. Eureka needs to get moving on things, every time I go up there it is so depressing, the town just seems so dead, and it has so much potential.
Mike I just talked about the freight cars in one of the Eureka aerial photos. I can't tell, but it looks like a lot of box cars in the mix. The lumber industry may have slowed, but there were a whole lot of other businesses using rail before it was shut down. You would think there still is demand for freight as well as the container idea that would drive the opening from Willits to Eureka. Transloading adds costs to the overall shipping costs too. And to think that alot of the anti rail advocates are the environmental factions themselves. Makes no real sense.......cost of rebuilding period is of course another subject. East / West idea would be tougher because of construction, land aquistion and enviromentalists as well, at least in my opinion
Sadly, much of Eureka seems to want to be a backwater :( Thankfully, we have the rail line running from Willits south, hopefully smarter heads will prevail and get things going again on the North End, there sure seem to be some good people trying to make that happen, hopefully they aren't stopped.
Tough to look at.....remembering the busy industrial past. Thanks for the photos!
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