Thursday, July 11, 2013

North Coast Rail Authority meeintg July 2013

The first order of business was the appointments of the new Directors to NCRA committees. Alex Stillman and I were appointed to the Finance Committee. Alex was also appointed to the Properties Committee.  

Next up was a Resolution supporting CalTrout Fisheries Restoration of Bridge Creek, which is about 12 miles south of Scotia.  The removal of rails was not a big issue since that part of the line had “Blown Out.” Restoration preemption was also a big issue. North Western Pacific company (NWPco) operator John Williams said he was in favor of an excursion train with this rail line. After much discussion and amendments to resolution the item passed unanimously 9-0.

CalTrout’s second Resolution concerned Restoration of Woodman Creek near Laytonville.  The 200ft of rail that was proposed to be removed is classified as “active railroad.” NCRA project engineer Dave Anderson pointed out that obstacles were in the 29 miles between Willits and Woodman Creek that needed to be addressed, namely:
14 slides
 6 tunnels
22 bridges

The project is well isolated and far into the future. In both restoration cases it was pointed out that this would help mitigate the issues for the future use of the rail, so why not address this now? Operator John Williams said that “money is the root of this issue!” He said he would support the project if it was well defined. He also pointed out that the 1 million dollar estimate for the replacement bridge would likely be 7-10 million and that the project would affect 2,000ft and not 200ft. The resolution with amendment’s passed unanimously 9-0.  
Last conduct of business for the day was whether to approve an agreement with Parallel Infrastructure (PI) to audit the Rail Line for Right of Ways (ROW) and to identify encroachments.  Passed unanimously 9-0.
NWPco Operator John Williams announced that the company has survived 2 years of rail service. He said the Federal Rail Authority had removed the Emergency Order from the rail also.  So far there is 62 miles of service in Marin and Sonoma Counties. He passed out pictures of rail and passenger cars delivering 500 passengers to Sears Point Raceway. He was proud to point out that there have been no injuries on the rail line. He was still hoping for TIGER grant funding to help completion of rail line to Cloverdale.
Oh yeah, by the way, the NCRA is broke. That was pointed out repeatedly during the meeting. Hope this last meeting won't literally be the last!


Mike Buettner said...

Thanks for the report Richard.

Anonymous said...

Why is there a publically funded board for a railline that hasn't operated in 20 years?