Capdiamont\’s Weblog

First Passenger train on NWP in June

For the first time since the reopening of the railroad. The NWP is having a passenger train. For $199 you will travel between Sacramento and the Sonoma race track. A t-shirt and preferred seating is included.

For the first time ever, Northern California NASCAR fans can get on board the NASCAR Express train service to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway.

The raceway has partnered with the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) to offer a first-of-its-kind express train that will transport fans directly from the Sacramento area to the raceway on race day, Sunday, June 23, 2013. The train will depart from Sacramento, with stops in Davis and Suisun City, and traverse some of Northern California’s most spectacular scenery before dropping passengers just steps from the raceway’s main entrance.


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First load of concrete ties delivered for SMART in Santa Rosa

Despite Patty Clary of Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) being quoted, in the NEC paper that the railroad is required to use creosoted ties for construction. The first load of concrete ties were delivered today in Santa Rosa for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART). This will reduce needed maintenance. This, for those who may not know, is the same line NCRA/NWP use.

BTW, dear Patty Clary, this was not the first time alternatives to the traditional creosoted tie were used on this railroad. On the Ridgewood pass, alternatives were tried.

Update: Two videos already posted.

Also, lying about alternatives the railroad could be using, does not help the democratic process.

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SMART DMUs will be delivered next year
Monday 20 Feb 2012, 05:16
Filed under: Marin, Novato, Railroad, Santa Rosa, SMART, Sonoma, transit

Santa Rosa Press Democrat

The cars have passed the crash test for use with freight(NCRA/NWP). The shells were and are built in Japan. Over sixty percent of the work will be done in Illinois. Then they will be transported over the rail network to be delivered by NWP. These cars and the new petaluma bridge will generate additional revenue for NWP/NCRA.

The new Haystack bridge in Petaluma was bought from Texas. SMART did a smart move with buying that bridge. Train speeds will be higher, the channel will be wider, and will save about thirty million over the long haul. Barge operators will be happier with the wider channel.

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RepealSMART died last Monday

3rd editorial on the utter failure of RepealSMART

Not enough signatures to even bother with the verification of votes. They needed 14,9xx votes plus thirty percent per RepealSMART. They turned in 14,5xx signatures even after paying people to get signatures. They cannot even go to court over that amount. That is six months worth of effort.

There is talk of a second attempt at repeal. Even if successful, it will accomplish nothing. The money will be released soon for construction, committing the money to the project.

SMART to have computer aided control
Sunday 22 Jan 2012, 08:53
Filed under: Marin, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Novato, Railroad, Santa Rosa, SMART, Sonoma, transit

SMART system to depend on computer-aided routing

Also using GPS to aid in location biased control

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SMART continues to gain steam
Saturday 7 Jan 2012, 07:22
Filed under: Marin, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, Santa Rosa, SMART, Sonoma, transit

Despite sales tax and criticism SMART continues to gain, making it as good a project as it can be with the funds they have.

A long process allowed the moving of the Rohnert Park station to a more desired location to bring more riders on board. Because of the density of the new location, that allowed another station in Novato to be built adding riders.

Many financial companies looked at the books. They decided the financial outlook was good. The only problem with the bonds seems there wasn’t enough for everybody to buy.

Construction has been signed, for two million less than expected for more stations than expected. Smart was able to add in a busy northern Santa Rosa station at Guerneville Road and redoing the Novato bridge.

Ridership is expected to be 80% with this segment vs the whole line.

I do intend to ride it when I can.

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SMART-EcoOdyssey Santa Rosa Excursion
Saturday 16 Apr 2011, 07:52
Filed under: Marin, NCRA, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Novato, Petaluma, Railroad, Santa Rosa, SMART, Sonoma

MOW is pleased to announce our first motorcar excursion on the newly
renovated ex NWP rails since they were bought by SMART (Sonoma Marin Area
Rail Transit). This is also a very special excursion in support of
“eco-tourism” in Sonoma and Marin counties. EcoRing is a non-profit
organization which is organizing this “EcoOdyssey” event to promote tourism
using alternatives to cars for transportation. Since SMART is not in service
yet EcoRing asked if we could provide rail transportation for this event. We
will have guests joining us from the railroad, local and state politicians
and dignitaries, and members of the press who support rail transportation.

May 6 Set-on, Santa Rosa to Healdsburg and return to Santa Rosa. May 7,
Santa Rosa to Petaluma and Navato and return and set-off. Limit 25 cars each
day. $40 for both days, $15 for May 6 only, $25 for May 7.

This is supported by the Motorcar Operators West, a wonderful group of speeder enthusiasts. Done using a group of speeders. The kind environmentalists threw a fit up here about. Down there, they are eco-transportation.

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SRPD: Santa Rosa’s Handcar Regatta to charge for first time
Sunday 10 Apr 2011, 10:14
Filed under: NCRA, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, Santa Rosa, SMART, Sonoma

Producers of the Great West End & Railroad Square Handcar Regatta, scheduled for its fourth incarnation in Santa Rosa this fall, will charge admission this year for the first time.

Good luck to you all, and I hope you have another great year! Twelve to fifteen thousand people attended the event last year.

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SRPD: NCRA hopes to get OK for freight rail service next month
Thursday 10 Feb 2011, 08:31
Filed under: Marin, NCRA, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, SMART, Sonoma

Some gems;

On Wednesday, Sonoma County shippers said they’re anxious for cargo service to return.

“Freight is a very important part of our future,” said Dick Caletti of Standard Structures, a Windsor company that makes industrial wood beams.

One rail car can carry three truckloads of freight, said Bill Owens of Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville.


SMART’s recommended railcars $23 Million under budget
Tuesday 26 Oct 2010, 11:03
Filed under: bicycle, Marin, Railroad, SMART, Sonoma, trails, transit
Press release: Rail Vehicle Recommendation Released 

General Manger Lillian Hames and the vehicle procurement team of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District are recommending the Board of Directors enter a contract with Sumitomo Corp. of America to build SMART’s passenger rail vehicles at a new plant in Illinois.

The contract would cover the manufacture and delivery of 18 rail cars (nine two-car trains) and cost $56,853,739 – more than $23 million below the original engineer’s estimate for vehicles.

The recommendation was released on Oct. 25. The Board of Directors is expected to discuss the issue at its next regular meeting, 1:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at San Rafael City Hall.

Sumitomo pic

Rail vehicles will be the signature feature of the SMART project, a 70-mile passenger train and parallel bicycle-pedestrian pathway from Cloverdale to Larkspur. The vehicle selection process has been a major focus of the district since nearly 70 percent of the voters in Marin and Sonoma approved Measure Q in November 2008.

A request for proposals from the vehicle industry in April 2010 produced six proposals from five manufacturers. A vehicle evaluation team comprised of SMART staff and consultants reviewed all of the proposals for technical content, and Sumitomo received the highest ranking. After that technical ranking was completed, the evaluation team opened price proposals. Based on an order of nine three-car trains, the price proposals were as follows:

Proposer Price (nine three-car sets)
CAF USA Inc. $ 136.7 million
Siemens $ 121.2 million
Siemens (Alternate Proposal) $ 104.6 million
Stadler Rail AG $ 124.0 million
Sumitomo Corporation of America $ 82.7 million
U.S. Railcar $ 131.5 million

SMART plans a start-up fleet of nine two-car trains, with an option to order “middle” cars for three-car train sets as ridership grows.

Given that Sumitomo was ranked first for its technical proposal and its price was more than $20 million less than the next lowest proposer, SMART entered negotiations with Sumitomo. The proposal met all of SMART’s requirements, including:

·    Satisfaction of all requirements for performance, including operations and passenger
ride quality
·    Crash Energy Management (CEM) system proposed, adding increased safety over the
level specified by SMART and required by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
·    EPA Tier 4 final compliant engines (exceeding current requirements)
·    Fully FRA-compliant (no waivers required)
·    Fully Buy-America compliant, preserving SMART’s opportunity to execute future
options under the contract utilizing federal funding if it becomes available
·    A vehicle with high-quality exterior and interior design deemed to be responsive to the
image that SMART intended for its vehicles
·    Provision of restrooms and service bars as desired in the specification
·    A color and finishing scheme that can be customized to SMART’s preference
·    Provision of 158 seats per train (married pair)
·    ADA access throughout the train and level boarding at stations (no steps or narrow aisle
·    24 primary and 14 secondary bicycle spaces per married pair
·    Work tables, luggage racks, convenience outlets, Wi-Fi, reclining seats and all other
features responsive to SMART’s  requirements
·    Powered third cars proposed as options that include operator cabs, enabling absolute
flexibility for configuration and operation of trains in a variety of vehicle combinations
·    Sumitomo accepted essentially all requirements of SMART’s specification and example
contract document included in the RFP

Sumitomo Corp. of America is a partnership that includes Sumitomo as a financial partner with Nippon Sharyo, a Japanese railcar builder that has provided vehicles for rail transit systems throughout the United States, including Caltrain, Virginia Railway Express, Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, Chicago’s Metra system, the Maryland Department of Transportation, Caltrans and Los Angeles County.  Should the Board of Directors accept the recommendation and enter a contract with Sumitomo, SMART’s rail cars would be substantially built at a new Nippon Sharyo plant in Rochelle, Ill., which opened last week to build Chicago Metra vehicles.

The draft manufacturing schedule calls for the first vehicles to be delivered to SMART in October 2013 and the final vehicle in May 2014. SMART passenger rail service is scheduled to begin in fall 2014.

The full recommendation is available at

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