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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Talk about Trolley system in Marin getting more serious
Friday 30 Nov 2012, 05:47
Filed under: Marin, Railroad, Streetcar, transit

Funding for a feasibility study is being pursued. Looks like a connection to all the Marin ferries.

Marin Voice OpEd Electric trolleys are a viable transit option in Marin

Pacific Sun article the group’s website. Check out the presentation for a map of the proposed lines.


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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’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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Local NWP area railroad news and grumble type mood.

I’ve delayed this, because of being in a grumble type mood. Now I need to reboot the browser, and computer for updates, so I might as well deal with it.

I and others, were trying to get a 4th of July speeder run in Eureka for this year, working it out for weeks. Heck, it was thought of last year, but was rejected. Something about overwhelming crowds back then.

Lets review the area that we wanted to give rides. The loading area would be Humboldt Towing at the northern end of 1st st., so that we would be connected to the crowds of downtown, and not block much of 1st st. The Northern end of the ride would be just south of T st. crossing. As far as getting it ready, there is no brush in the way, clear a bit of the flange ways, cut flange ways out of wood in one crossing, and cut some wimpy stumps that grew next to the rails. You couldn’t ask for an easier new riding area for a speeder. You couldn’t ask for a nicer way to get in the public’s mind.

Just a simple little ride, generating good pr, having fun, and generating a little revenue. No advertising, for it was a bit late for that, just a few signs around downtown pointing the way or so.

Except that isn’t what happened. Instead I got the full force of the political, lazy answers. Excuses ranges from the stumps,to paved over crossing, to permits needed, to lack of transportation due to somebody being out-of-town. The stump would have taken one person a max of 1/2 day to take care of. It isn’t like you have a full tree to take care of, and we have dealt with plenty of stumps next to the rails on the Samoa side. There is no paved over crossing, the closest one that fits that description is the one just north of Humboldt towing. Just take a chainsaw to the wood, and cut a small grove for the flanges. Eureka city engineering didn’t get back to me on that one. Talking to Eureka city clerk, no permits needed. Nice person BTW. Transportation could have been overcome, by having Humboldt Towing, or another towing company put it on a flat-bed. I’m sure I could have even borrowed or rented something big enough to haul it.

But nope, it got shot down to the point, even a static display was given the big NO from the board meeting. No means to appeal the decision, heck I didn’t even know the idea would be voted on. Well it is time to revamp the by-laws.

Enough of the rant.

The speeder rides this year have the new trailer to about double the capacity of the rides. And will have a special run in the beginning of Aug from Arcata and will be longer rides.

Pacific Lumber Speeder ride opens to public in Humboldt County

More seats available for ‘Riding the Rail’

”Riding the Rails” speeders now can carry 26 people. A donation of $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for children under 8 is requested from guests. Children riding on the lap require no tickets.

Rides start this coming Saturday, and continue on July 24, Aug. 28 and Sept. 25 for a 20-minute ride between Samoa and Manila beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. The Timber Heritage Association will have a special longer ride along the U.S. Highway 101 corridor on Aug. 7 with a higher donation of $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for children under 8. Tickets and reservations can be made online at Potential guests may call 442-3073 for reservations and information.

SamoaSoftball blog: has Eureka Southern excursion train blast from the past video.

SRPD: Freight trains at least 3 months away

Basically looking at around Oct of this year if things go well for freight trains on the NWP.

MIJ: Editorial, don’t cut the SMART bike path.

SMART, the commuter train on the southern end of the NWP faces $155 million. The debate is how to go about things with building the line. The shortfall is due to the economy, lack of money coming from NCRA because of the freight trains not running, and new safety requirement. So what gets cut out, or delayed? General choices is hope for better economy, federal grants(etc), bike trail, or

Sonoma-Marin rail gets $28 million from state |
Tuesday 25 May 2010, 04:56
Filed under: Marin, Railroad, SMART, Sonoma, transit

Sonoma-Marin rail gets $28 million from state |

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit has received $28 million in state funds to purchase land for a maintenance facility and stations and for engineering and design work.


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The money was allocated by the California Transportation Commission on Thursday from Proposition 116, a $1.9 billion bond passed by voters in 1990.

The funds had been expected and were part of the SMART budget.


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