Capdiamont\’s Weblog


Rail and Trail around Humboldt Bay

I admit being nervous how the committee process would go.  As I told NCRA at their last meeting, what they came up with was very smart. Now we have a rail with trail process around the bay. This gives our area the political capital and economic benefits we need to implement the plan a single way could not. I knew that not all the ties needed to be replaced, and the rail did not need to be replaced, yet you naysayers would not listen. We can finally move forward now that the “squeeze” folks have quieted down. For those who continue to doubt normal maintenance can raise the rail-bed effectively for sea level rise, please understand NCRA already has done this as part of the rebuilding process. They raised the trestle down in Novato. On either side the track needed to  be raised to match the bridge.

I am a part of this process. I do not have a problem with putting a trail along side the rail. I do have a problem with removing the rail for a trail in these vital areas. We need the tourist train. The tourist train is about diversification of our economy.

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Waterscapes 2 Dec 2012
Sunday 2 Dec 2012, 11:53
Filed under: Arcata, Eureka, Humboldt | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Freshwater Park 27 Nov 2012

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Freshwater Park 27 Nov 2012

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Freshwater

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Freshwater

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Freshwater

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Freshwater

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Freshwater

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Freshwater

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Freshwater

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Freshwater

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Freshwater

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Freshwater Park

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Freshwater Park

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Freshwater Park

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Freshwater Park

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Freshwater Park. Same place as first view.

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Freshwater Park

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Freshwater

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Freshwater

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Near Old Hansen Road

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Bayside

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Bayside

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Bayside

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Bayside, Jacoby Creek

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101, Jacoby Creek

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Mad River looking East

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Mad River looking West

Sorry if the lighting is not quite right on a few of them. The spring on my normal lens broke, disabling automatic exposure.

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Problems with the local rail banking idea

There is many issues here.

The rail to trail from Arcata to Blue Lake has yet to turn a shovel.
The rail with trail within Arcata and to Bracutt has yet to turn a shovel. Both were submitted to NCRA board and approved long ago. There has been no plan for a trail from Bracutt to Eureka that was brought to the NCRA board for a vote. With no plan submitted, it cannot be approved. NCRA is not the bad guy here. There are proper ways to do things. The trail folks have not done so.

The four million mentioned in the plan is not the true cost of converting the rail to trail. There is an unbroken string of federal court cases stating rails to rails/rail banking is an unconstitutional taking of land. So in each court case, the government had to pay fair market value of the land for a new trail easement as though the railroad was never there, plus interest. Those costs have not been added to the 2007 plan. Link: http://www.mainjustice.com/2012/02/17/railbanking-flopping-in-the-courtroom/

The prism of the railroad is not a levee. It was not designed to hold back any water, and it will not do so. It was only designed to hold up the trains. There has been no costs added to the 2007 plan to make it a levee. Again those are added costs, and time to do so.

The short run for the tourist train from Samoa to Arcata is too short for the proposed Dinner train. It will also leave out the packed Fourth of July passenger train runs between Arcata and Eureka. Those runs brought our communities together with alternative transportation.

The East side of highway 101 might be a better place. I know you have to cross Indianola, various businesses, etc. However you open yourself up to whole new possibilities. It would then be cheaper to add in the old railroad right of ways to Bayside, Old Hansen Rd area, Freshwater, and the north side of Eureka. Indianola was a Railroad right of way. This way you have the main connecting trail, plus more to get people off of old Arcata Road. It allow for better access to the the wildlife refuge. It is more protected from the wind coming off the bay.

Rail banking is unneeded. The operator filed a notice of intent to use the railroad, and that alone preserves the right of way from reverting to private hands. The public was told the railroad has not been used for fifteen years. That is incorrect. There has been the movement of the railroad passenger car, and various groups of speeders. All that usage qualifies as railroad usage, preserving the right of way.

Now there is proposed usage of the railroad as a shortline in the intern, with eventual connection to the outside. With the proposed usage, the Surface Transportation Board will not the abandoning of the railroad. Rail banking requires abandonment of the railroad. Thus no rail banking will be allowed, even if the NCRA wanted to do so.



There is no plan for railbanking of Humboldt railroad
Monday 25 Jun 2012, 12:50
Filed under: Arcata, bicycle, Eureka, Humboldt, NCRA, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, trails

Tomorrow, our county Supervisors will be voting on a railbanking  committee for the railroad. Judy Hodgson wishes you to believe there is a plan that everyone has agreed to. There is no such plan. Instead she uses her bully pulpit to bash the railroad. We also have a supervisor, Clif who has acted shamefully, by not putting the restoration of the railroad first and foremost as part of the railroad board.

There is no danger of losing the right of way to land owners. There has been no case of the land reverting back to land owners without the railroad deliberately abandoning the line. We own the railroad, so this will not be the case. Converting the railroad in to a trail requires going through the abandonment process. If an agreement is not reached with whomever takes over, the land will revert back to the land owners.

We, the public do not own most of the land, instead the railroad has an easement, that is literally stated in deeds as, “for railroad use only.” A trail is not a railroad use. There is an unbroken string of federal court cases stating exactly this. This means the lowball figure for trails given is wrong. An entirely new easement must be bought at fair market value, as though the railroad never existed. Otherwise it is an unconstitutional taking of land.

Further the usage figures have been overstated. The figures given are higher than a newly built trail in Marin, between to large population centers. How can this be?

We have yet to hear, how the maintenance of the trail will be paid for, or how much.

Also trail advocates understate the usage of the railroad.



Highway 299 Buckhorn grade coming along nicely
Tuesday 5 Jun 2012, 01:38
Filed under: Arcata, Eureka, Humboldt | Tags: , , ,

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Just think, when the Buckhorn grade series of projects are done, STAA trucks will be able to travel 299 all the way to Arcata in 2013. Can anyone tell me why STAA trucks will be an impact when going through Richardson Grove, and not 299 or from 101 North?

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A letter in NCJ print, not online

Somehow my, and another letter about the rail failed to appear online at the North Coast Journal.

 

Rees Hughes makes a mistake by assuming all rail travel is more expensive than trails in the “A Walk on the Wild Side.” The problem is a matter of the weight of the rail travel exerting forces on the track. Speeders, hand cars, and rail-cycles do not weigh as much as a train. They are not classified by the Federal Railroad Administration as a train. All of these can run on the rail as it is today with the only exception is a little clearing of trees. The Arcata & Mad River Speeder Crewcar has traveled from the Arcata Marsh to the last crossing North of Eureka. Those washouts are minor, and I have lawfully walked that path, because of volunteering with the Timber Heritage Association. The costs are only that of clearing and inspection of the track. The reason that side is not regularly used is political, not physical. The mistake is assuming costs are all the same. So minimal costs versus millions of dollars to make the trail. The speeder clearly is the lowest cost version.

Another mistake is the thinking the speeder crewcar/hand cars would not attract many people. Already thousands of people have ridden the speeder on trips given by the Timber Heritage Association. Many of those people are from out of the area, enhancing the local economy. Last year twelve thousand people showed up for the annual one event called the Handcar Regretta, at the Santa Rosa Depot. I would describe that event as a Steam Punk sculpture race on the rails. Rail based transport is hugely popular.

Might I suggest we do a serious look at rail based passenger transport? I suggest we look at DMUs  SMART will be using in Sonoma and Marin counties.

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Arcata Eye: How That Cute Li’l Speeder Helped Open Up A Can(yon) Of Worms
Friday 20 Aug 2010, 07:23
Filed under: Arcata, Humboldt, Manila, NCRA, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, Samoa, THA

As a demonstration how environmentalists can complain about every little thing, the usual groups have gotten together to pen a hilarious, over the top, and completely removed from realty letter.

The reality is very, very little work was done. The ballast work was simply moving it from one side of the track to another. No new ballast was used. To correct the driveway analogy, it is more akin to moving gravel a few feet on your driveway to fill in a pot hole, than anything else. As far as safety concerns, we had already passed over the bridges with zero deflection. Speeder doesn’t weigh much, even with people

The nice, balanced article by The Arcata Eye is here.




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