Capdiamont\’s Weblog


NCRA press release: NWP RAIL REPAIRS SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETE
Thursday 22 Oct 2009, 09:39
Filed under: Marin, NCRA, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, Sonoma

PRESS RELEASE – Ukiah – October 22, 2009
North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) Chairman, Allan Hemphill today announced that $40
million in repairs to 62 miles of the Northwestern Pacific (NWP) railway between Napa County
and Windsor have been completed.
He said Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) inspection of the repairs to trackway, crossing
signals, and bridges between Windsor in Sonoma County and the national rail interchange
(Lombard), located North of American Canyon in Napa County, will take up to 90 days.
Hemphill said the NCRA’s contract rail operator, the Northwestern Pacific Company (NWP
Co.), expects to be operational on this 62 mile stretch of the NWP line no later than March of
next year.
“The return of freight service to the NWP line will take trucks off of 101, reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, and reduce transportation costs for North Bay businesses and agricultural interests,”
said Hemphill.
He said one immediate beneficiary of freight train service will be Marin and Sonoma dairymen
who are suffering from escalating costs of feed grains that must be trucked in from the Central
Valley.
“The delivery of livestock feed by rail will substantially reduce transportation costs and provide
an immediate life line for Marin and Sonoma County dairymen and ranchers,” said Hemphill.
Other commodities expected to be moved on the line in the first year of service include wood
products, building materials, cases of wine, and other general merchandize. Hemphill said the
NWP Co. estimates operations of 3 roundtrip trains per week in 2010, increasing to 3 roundtrips
per day in 2011 and beyond.
Train service was stopped by the FRA in 1998 due to safety concerns. The California
Transportation Commission (CTC) released about $40 million in state funds to repair 62 miles of
track from Lombard to Windsor in 2006. NCRA started work in 2007 to repair 55 crossing
signals, replace 50,000 crossties and 23,000 tons of ballast, shore-up levees in Schellville, and
repair 43 rail bridges between Windsor and the train connection with the Union Pacific
(Lombard) located North of American Canyon. A lawsuit by the City of Novato objecting to the
repairs delayed work for 14 months. The lawsuit was finally settled and work resumed in
November 2008.
Hemphill said that the FRA will begin inspection of the track in November. He said that before
freight operations can begin, the FRA must lift the emergency order that stopped train service in
1998. He said the NCRA must also certify a $2.5 million Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
originally issued last March. The draft EIR will be reissued in November, with the goal of final
adoption in January or February 2010. The EIR, which is required under the California
Environmental Quality Act, evaluates the impacts of train operations on the Russian River
Division, defined as Lombard to Willits.
“Trains are good for the environment, good energy policy, and good for the local economy,” said
Hemphill.
“Impacts from the return of train service are overwhelmingly positive. One rail car will remove
4 trucks from 101, and 1 gallon of diesel will move one ton of freight over 400 miles,” he said

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3 Comments

Awesome!!! Great to have an update!

Comment by Joshua Woods

Thanks again for keeping us updated! I don’t know where else I could find this information.

Comment by Shawn

Actually, I contacted NCRA and they added me to their email list to recieve updates like these. I was trying to hint that they should post these on their web site but we’ll see…

Comment by Joshua Woods




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