Humboldt Port Development.
The rail story you don’t hear:
On February 11th of 1998 one of my best friends was the engineer of a train hauling product from Northern Humboldt to the southern portion of our rail system. Word was out that a slide was occurring between Dos Rios and Bell Springs. Nick’s step father “Fergy” Ferguson told Nick to abandon the rail cars at Island Mountain, and those cars are there to this day! Nick took the Locomotive north to wait for the time to return to repair the line. Mind you, this had been pretty much Standard Operating Procedure for over 85 years. The repairs needed to restore service were nothing more than they had been up against in past years or not anything they hadn’t seen before. Nick said it would have taken about 2 days at the least, and no more than a week or two to resume service at way under 1 million dollars. Unfortunately, the North Coast Rail Authority had contracted out rail services to Railways Inc. and CEO Ron Darling had announced they were going bankrupt. Nick and other rail workers were actually working for free, in hope that the rail would find money to pay the employees sometime in the future. When it became obvious there would be no payroll checks forthcoming, people left to find new jobs. Many workers filed claims for past payment due from Railways Inc…….including the CEO Ron Darling. Wild stuff.
So this interruption in train service for just ten years ended up being a huge contributor to the train downfall. We went from a rail system needing less than 1 million to continue a service that had only short interruptions in the winters for decades, to a totally stagnant rail system that is dilapidating yearly. New figures thrown out there for functional/actual train service is now over 1 Billion dollars! How and why did this happen? It seems the North Coast Rail Authority has become its own beau racy that has money coming in, but where is it going out? Staff? Repairs? Studies? Directors? Attorneys? Got me. I am looking from the outside in. This is a loosely wrapped observation and I am sure others out there who know more particulars. Please refute my facts publicly and not anonymously. I will monitor those out.
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