Capdiamont\’s Weblog

NCRA’s latest Humboldt plan
Tuesday 8 Jan 2008, 11:28
Filed under: NCRA, Railroad

It doesn’t include Island Mountain. It only goes to South Fork as it’s southern end. Gravel is a scarce material and California imports it from Mexico and Canada. Some say the 6,000 rail car loads could be easily done. How environmentally correct is it to get gravel from Mexico? You have your distance, low wages, and great benefits(sarcasm).

Author: Mining Engineer Steve
Date: 01-08-2008 – 16:18

Dear JM,

Sorry to break the news to ya, but earthly building materials are actually quite scarce along the whole pacific coast and also along the east coast of this country. Basic problem is NIMBY’s and unrealistic environmental regulation. If you research the annual geology reports from various states as well as the various mining and gravel/quarry trade magazines you can find a whole host of information regarding this topic. The USA imports aggregate and cement as well as a long list of other metals, non-metals, and industrial minerals because people don’t want a gravel pit or mine in their back yard even though it benefits them and society with highways, airports, buildings, etc. Unfortunately the cost of these materials have gone through the roof because they have to mined, processed, and shipped great distances to serve the needs of our society. Until our society stops with this non-sense, we are going to keep paying the piper. Needlessly waisting more and more dollars to import things that already exist in our backyard. On the other hand, this reinforces the need for railroads as they are an efficient transport mode for the long distance transport of materials from ports and NAFTA neighbors Canada and Mexico.

Author: Little Lake Listener
Date: 01-08-2008 – 07:23

Not so fast. The Granite Construction/PALCO gravel operations at South Fork, Glynn, and Carlotta, plus (possibly) the Drake (Shamrock) site at Fortuna, could ship 6,000 carloads of aggregates to the Port (South Bay?) for movement to San Francisco Bay destinations by barge without breaking a sweat. At most, that is only 600,000 tons, or 120 barge loads (and fewer if bigger barges are used). That forecast may, however, presume the construction pace in the Bay Area remains high and competing aggregate sources remain pricey. There is at least one (and possibly two) new water transfer terminals for aggregate transloading on the Petaluma River.

Times-Standard Article:

Harbor District, Rail Authority look to state for $19 million to repair line
John Driscoll/The Times-Standard
Article Launched: 01/08/2008 01:27:18 AM PST

Click photo to enlarge

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Railroad and harbor officials may ask the state for some $19 million toward reopening the rail line from Samoa to South Fork and improve the Humboldt Bay entrance to ease a sometimes hazardous shoaling problem.

The North Coast Railroad Authority and the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District are proposing to jointly apply to the California Transportation Commission for a share of Proposition 1B bond money. The project, the application says, would restore competitive rail service at the north end of the line, relieve highway congestion and make navigation into the bay more efficient and safe.

The agencies have prepared a plan to provide matching funds for the $38 million effort from the federal government, according to the draft application. The rail authority would work with its operator to get funding through the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program, it reads, and other federal money.

The matter will be considered by the rail authority on Wednesday, when Humboldt Bay trail advocates are scheduled to give a presentation on using the rail line for bike, pedestrian and other nonmotorized uses.

Railroad authority Executive Director Mitch Stogner said there are possibilities
Click Here!
for rail and trail arrangement around Humboldt Bay.

”There are also a lot of complications and things that need to be worked out,” Stogner said.

Stogner said the Proposition 1B funds are an opportunity to get another portion of the line up and running, as the authority is doing at the south end of the line between Willits and Lombard. That effort has met with a lawsuit from the city of Novato. In the middle, between South Fork and Willits, is the Eel River Canyon, where the tracks are the most severely damaged.

Exactly how a rail line between South Fork and Samoa — not exactly centers of trade — would survive on its own is not clear. Operator Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. anticipates, according to the application, that traffic would be general freight that would be transferred from rail to barges in the harbor. That would generate 6,000 carloads annually and remove 48,000 loaded and empty trucks from highways in the area, according to the application.

John Williams with Northwestern said he has talked with a number of potential shippers over the past 18 months, and is convinced there is cargo to be moved. The transportation commission will ask for a business plan if it decides to fund the project, he said, and he’d then look for more assurances from shippers that they are interested in using the line.

He also said there is not enough traffic potential to justify private investment, but public money could allow the adequate operation of the railroad.

The harbor portion of the project looks to change the configuration of the entrance of the bay or use more intensive dredging to keep the mouth of the port from continually shoaling. Sand and sediment regularly piles up in the entrance channel near the South Jetty, and especially in stormy years can be hazardous.

The application proposes 11 different concepts that a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers investigation found would improve the situation. They include building an artificial reef and extending the South Jetty, as well as winter or year-round dredging or building a structure to trap sediment. That portion of the project is estimated to cost $8.1 million.

Skeptic Mike Buettner said both agencies appear completely intent on pursuing rail and port plans despite opposition and other ideas born out of public processes such as the Harbor Revitalization Plan. He said the application, if approved, could stall plans for the other concepts.

”It’s just another way of postponing that discussion,” Buettner said.

If approved by the rail authority and the harbor district this week — and if the transportation commission awards the grant and the federal money is secured — the environmental analysis of the rail and port project could begin in June.

In all, the application anticipates that construction could begin at the start of February 2009, and be done by March of 2015.

California Transportation Commission Deputy Director Andre Boutros said that most of the Proposition 1B money is aimed at regional projects staff have already identified. The Humboldt Bay region is not among them, he said. But up to $80 million is available for other projects outside those areas, as long as it meets criteria for improving the movement of goods in the state.

”The bottom line is Humboldt can apply,” Boutros said. “It is a competitive process. We have to look at the criteria and how projects relate to one another.”


What: North Coast Railroad Authority meeting

Where: Board of Supervisors chambers, Eureka

When: Wednesday, 11 a.m.



What: Humboldt Bay Harbor District meeting

Where: Board of Supervisors chambers, Eureka

When: Thursday, 7 p.m.

John Driscoll can be reached at 441-0504 or

NCJ blog’s slanted outlook. Gotta love that the plan was made up to kill the trail. You complain that NCRA didn’t have a plan, now you complain when they do. Yet you wonder why I said the rails to trails people just want to kill rail. Prof. Just take one of your Mac’s and beat your head against it. Just don’t touch your hub/switch, or it will stop working. While your at it, register your screen saver, I’m sure the programmer would love to finally have their money for the doggy one.

Sohum’s post


Author: Little Lake Listener
Date: 01-09-2008 – 20:28

The subject of this particular thread was reopening of the railroad from South Fork to Samoa for movement of rock. Whether the distance is long or short is irrelevant, Humboldt County roads cannot handle the beating of a highway move. If the rock is going to move at all, it will be by rail. However, to move the gravel to a suitable waterfront, only that portion of the railroad from South Fork to South Bay, including the Carlotta branch, need be restored to service. Reopening to Samoa is possibly a recognition of the importance to the region of the proposed tourist train operation.

It is true the aggregate handling facilities that once existed at South Bay (also known as Fields Landing Terminal) are long gone and would have to be replaced either at South Bay or any of the other existing facilities. But everything else “Bit” says about the Port and the quarries is misleading.

As of a couple years ago, there were eleven quarries in Humboldt County with valid SMARA and Use Permits. Presently, all Humboldt County quarry output must move by truck for local construction and City and County highway maintenance. However, the four permitted quarries previously referred to abut the railroad and would require no highway transit to use rail. The proposed expansion would not eliminate local highway movements to private and public local consumers, but no trucks would be added to serve the rest of the State.

Humboldt Bay Forest Products Docks would surely be astounded to learn that all those logs moving across its piers are handled without any infrastructure. I am equally confident Fields Landing Terminal, Redwood Marine Terminal, Schneider Dock, Sierra Pacific Eureka Dock, and Simpson Chip Export would be similarly startled to learn they too have “no useable infrastructure.” Maybe volumes are down (I don’t know), but the physical plant still exists.

Finally, nothing needs to be done to “rework the harbor entrance or jetties.” If the reference is to the so-called “bulkhead,” south of Eureka, those repairs have nothing whatsoever to do with the utility of the Port – only the railroad approach to Eureka. The Port is in fine shape for bulk commodities – if not for containers.

The Port is not the problem.


1 Comment

wow 🙂
its very reasonable article.
Nice post.
realy good post

thank you 😉

Comment by Wegrasp

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