Capdiamont\’s Weblog

There is no plan for railbanking of Humboldt railroad
Monday 25 Jun 2012, 12:50
Filed under: Arcata, bicycle, Eureka, Humboldt, NCRA, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, trails

Tomorrow, our county Supervisors will be voting on a railbanking  committee for the railroad. Judy Hodgson wishes you to believe there is a plan that everyone has agreed to. There is no such plan. Instead she uses her bully pulpit to bash the railroad. We also have a supervisor, Clif who has acted shamefully, by not putting the restoration of the railroad first and foremost as part of the railroad board.

There is no danger of losing the right of way to land owners. There has been no case of the land reverting back to land owners without the railroad deliberately abandoning the line. We own the railroad, so this will not be the case. Converting the railroad in to a trail requires going through the abandonment process. If an agreement is not reached with whomever takes over, the land will revert back to the land owners.

We, the public do not own most of the land, instead the railroad has an easement, that is literally stated in deeds as, “for railroad use only.” A trail is not a railroad use. There is an unbroken string of federal court cases stating exactly this. This means the lowball figure for trails given is wrong. An entirely new easement must be bought at fair market value, as though the railroad never existed. Otherwise it is an unconstitutional taking of land.

Further the usage figures have been overstated. The figures given are higher than a newly built trail in Marin, between to large population centers. How can this be?

We have yet to hear, how the maintenance of the trail will be paid for, or how much.

Also trail advocates understate the usage of the railroad.


A letter in NCJ print, not online

Somehow my, and another letter about the rail failed to appear online at the North Coast Journal.


Rees Hughes makes a mistake by assuming all rail travel is more expensive than trails in the “A Walk on the Wild Side.” The problem is a matter of the weight of the rail travel exerting forces on the track. Speeders, hand cars, and rail-cycles do not weigh as much as a train. They are not classified by the Federal Railroad Administration as a train. All of these can run on the rail as it is today with the only exception is a little clearing of trees. The Arcata & Mad River Speeder Crewcar has traveled from the Arcata Marsh to the last crossing North of Eureka. Those washouts are minor, and I have lawfully walked that path, because of volunteering with the Timber Heritage Association. The costs are only that of clearing and inspection of the track. The reason that side is not regularly used is political, not physical. The mistake is assuming costs are all the same. So minimal costs versus millions of dollars to make the trail. The speeder clearly is the lowest cost version.

Another mistake is the thinking the speeder crewcar/hand cars would not attract many people. Already thousands of people have ridden the speeder on trips given by the Timber Heritage Association. Many of those people are from out of the area, enhancing the local economy. Last year twelve thousand people showed up for the annual one event called the Handcar Regretta, at the Santa Rosa Depot. I would describe that event as a Steam Punk sculpture race on the rails. Rail based transport is hugely popular.

Might I suggest we do a serious look at rail based passenger transport? I suggest we look at DMUs  SMART will be using in Sonoma and Marin counties.

Comments Off on A letter in NCJ print, not online

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

Comments Off on SMART’s recommended railcars $23 Million under budget

Professor Paul Gallegos teaches his minions well
Sunday 24 Oct 2010, 10:19
Filed under: bicycle, Humboldt | Tags: ,


Carol Conner stumps for an intellectual movie

Carol Conner stumps for an intellectual movie


Despite a plethora of evidence Paul is messing up most cases he has touched, the minions have been told to ignore all evidence, it is only minor things. Running over bicyclists is not illegal per Paul. Paul has a letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and California Attorney General Edmund Brown because of such a horrid level of incompetence. Rose has a blog of many, various things he has messed up. How about the oil company he said, he went after, except it was not an oil company. It was just Big oil & Tire. When I hear him speak, I have a tremendous desire to impale myself. Supporters, though have their blinders on, and say we need to give him another 10, 20, 50, or 100 years to figure things out. Even more listing of his failures, see Arcata Eye’s unpublishable letters page.

Trying to get Paul’s supporters to at least admit there  are some flaws is like talking to a wall. I’ll admit Jackson is not perfect, but is a better than Paul. Even posting on supporter blogs that Paul has more flaws than they will admit will get your comment deleted.

Though those same people would stump for the above movie because the main characters are brains.





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

Bicyclists may face fines for handheld cell phones – Road Warrior – The Press Democrat – Santa Rosa, CA – Archive
Friday 4 Jun 2010, 04:53
Filed under: bicycle

That was part of the message Thursday from the state Senate, which voted 21-16 to add for the first time a $20 initial fine for bicyclists for gripping hand-held cell phones while riding. You’ll have to go hands free. Subsequent offenses would cost $50.

via Bicyclists may face fines for handheld cell phones – Road Warrior – The Press Democrat – Santa Rosa, CA – Archive.

Humboldt County Dems may ask legislators to transfer northern rail line to public – Times-Standard Online
Wednesday 12 May 2010, 05:52
Filed under: Arcata, bicycle, Eureka, Humboldt, NCRA, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, THA, trails

North Coast lawmakers may be asked by local Democrats to introduce legislation that would hand over the North Coast Railroad line in Humboldt County to a public entity so it could be used for a trail and a tourist train.

via Humboldt County Dems may ask legislators to transfer northern rail line to public – Times-Standard Online.

Comments Off on Humboldt County Dems may ask legislators to transfer northern rail line to public – Times-Standard Online

%d bloggers like this: