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NCRA, SMART, and Wine train news

Ukiah Daily Journal: 50-year lease: City to renovate historic Ukiah depot

The council approved a lease contract with the North Coast Railroad Authority which gives the city a 50-year lease on the depot for a dollar a year, with an option for another 20 years.

In return, the city will use highway and redevelopment funds to bring back the depot to its original 1929 condition.

The city has awarded a contract to Cupples Construction for $389,000. About two thirds will come from federal highway fund grants funneled through Caltrans and about one third – $106,000 – will come from the city’s redevelopment funding.

Now that all the pieces are in place, Pruden said the rehabilitation should begin right away and be completed in about four months.

Under the lease, if the railroad begins passenger service before the end of the lease and wants to use the depot, the city and NCRA are required to try to come up with a way to share the depot. If an agreement can’t be reached, NCRA can take back the depot, but only with Caltrans’ permission.

MIJ: SMART picks heavy cars for Marin-Sonoma rail system

Marin and Sonoma train passengers will ride heavy diesel trains linking the two counties when service is scheduled to start in 2014.

SRPD: SMART selects American-made rail cars

Directors of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit system on Wednesday chose the heavier American-style rail car over its European counterpart, but promised it would be every bit as quiet, comfortable and sleek.

“It’s not only got to look cool, it has to ride well and be a good neighbor,” said Charles McGlashan, a Marin County supervisor and SMART chairman.

The decision, which came on a 9-2 vote, directs staff to begin writing specifications, from the number of bathrooms on a train car to how many bicycles it can hold. The process will take several months and cost $400,000.

It also allows SMART engineers to begin designing rail stations, platforms and maintenance facilities along the 70-mile, Cloverdale-to-Larkspur commute line.

NVR: St. Helena mayor wants public vote on Wine Train

Détente has been declared between St. Helena and the Napa Valley Wine Train, but Mayor Del Britton isn’t so sure that St. Helena citizens are ready to lay down their arms.

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