I envision a new RR line in northern California.

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I envision a new RR line in northern California.

Postby JonCavender » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:35 am

I envision a new line in northern California which would connect the Humboldt Bay/Eureka metro area with America's national railroad network. If I were super rich, multi-billionaire, which I am not, I might seek to acquire right-of-way land for a private railroad in Shasta, Trinity and Humboldt Counties to make this possible. There would also have to be the provision that geologically-stable land would have to be available to make this feasible. I don't know yet how stable the banks are along the Trinity River to support new standard-gauge railroad construction and sustain freight, passenger and excursion train service over the long haul.

Approaching via the Trinity river seems the most logical approach to getting Eureka reconnected with the national railroad network. The Eel River line built almost 100 years ago has failed miserably and could not withstand the test of time.

Humboldt was formerly served by the Eel River line of the Northwestern Pacific RR from Willits, CA to Eureka, CA and train service was shut down on that line since circa 1997 due to natural disaster. For almost a century, Mother Nature has scorned and virtually forbidden an unmolested working railroad along the banks of the Eel River. This particular piece of the world's real estate verily hates trains if you were to read up on the history of it. The people of Eureka and Humboldt County seem to want rail service back badly. No enterprising individual or entity with means has made that happen yet since the Eel River line last shut down. It would seem more practical to run standard-gauge trackage from the east near Redding/Shasta Lake via Trinity County's seat, Weaverville, CA, and on to the Humboldt Bay area. The land known as Trinity County has never ever seen an inch of RR track laid upon her soil as far as I know. There has to be geological surveys, environmental impact reports and a pile of legal red tape a skyscraper high to expand railroad construction in America, I guess. Back in the 1800's, railroad right-of-way all across America was plentiful and cheap to grab from the government.
I would call my line something like the "Trinity River Line". My line could possibly interface with Union Pacific near Redding. Apparently, America's RR industry might not feel this profitable or a worthwhile investment or this might have been proposed a long time ago. UP certainly has deep enough pockets to invest in a new Eureka rail connection if it could ever pass muster with all the legal hoopla.

The trouble could also be with the tree-hugging forces in California regarding train track expansion through the Trinity National Forest and other parts of the state. Eel River, over most of the 20th century, was just a big RR boondoggle that failed due to natural limitations of that land formation. Eel river is also notorious for at least one fatal train wreck resulting from natural causes. Railroad tracks in California, even if right-of-way land still exists, have been steadily disappearing over the years and not many new ones have been born. What is the complex legal process of trying to acquire new RR right-of-way anyway? Perhaps, Californians, and particularly the residents of the cities, towns, communities and counties involved, would have to vote on it. The "spotted-owl lovers"/Sierra Club types might raise an objection.

Do the people of the quaint, but fairly-well populated, mountain town of Weaverville, CA even want trains to roll through for the first time ever?
Through those parts I figure the minimum curve radius desired might be 1,000 feet and grade percentage maximum of 2%. I would have a single-track standard-gauge line as a double track system might be too opulent. Trains, freight, passenger and excursion alike, could be scheduled to run from Redding to Eureka in the mornings and back to Redding in the evenings. There could be a siding or two to let trains moving opposite directions pass at certain points on the line too. Following river banks, canyons and valleys (natural passes) through these mountainous areas helps minimize the need for expensive bridges, trestles and tunnels. RR's and highway builders also like to use cut-and-fill building techniques as much as they can too in their budgets. Can SD40/SD40-T-2 freight locomotives handle 1,000-foot radius turns at low speed? I like nostalgic GM/EMD diesel engines and classic Pullman heavyweight passenger cars and would like that kind of rolling stock for my line. There might also be a nice old Baldwin steam engine or two for excursion train rides along the lovely Trinity River countryside.

But like Thomas Edison's light bulb, the Wright Brothers' airplane and Henry Ford's Model T, this is a mere opium pipe dream for now.
Image
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Please disregard posted images above.

Postby JonCavender » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:56 pm

Here is my best map drawing to date as follows:
http://www.fusedimages.com/is.php?i=166 ... iver_L.jpg
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or as an alternate route: the FIVE RIVERS RR

Postby JonCavender » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:17 am

http://www.fusedimages.com/is.php?i=166 ... rs_RR_.jpg

This covers Hayfork and the Mad River to the south.
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Re: Further Developments in my Idea

Postby JonCavender » Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:21 pm

The Railroad could also be called "Humboldt Connection" and interface with UP in the south near Red Bluff. I would need sufficient flat land for a rail terminal with yard, station, turntable and repair facilities and there might not be enough available land north near Redding in Shasta County. Passengers on the eastern end of the line would board here. I would be near Interstate 5 in the Sacramento Valley.

Here is a concept map of this line:
http://i1252.photobucket.com/albums/hh5 ... yqz45k.png

here is the eastern terminal:
http://i1252.photobucket.com/albums/hh5 ... j64ah1.png


Here are some rolling stock livery concepts, what my trains would look like:
http://i1252.photobucket.com/albums/hh5 ... djiwfo.png
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Re: I envision a new RR line in northern California.

Postby rr503 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:04 pm

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Re: I envision a new RR line in northern California.

Postby rr503 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:08 pm

The current plan though, is to rehab the original NWP route, although that will probably not be completed for several decades. Currently, track is open as far as Petaluma, but they say that they will have rehabbed to Willits by 2020.
This is the NCRA website:
http://www.northcoastrailroad.org/
NWP fan website:
http://nwprr.net/
And the highly incomplete website of the RR itself:
http://nwprailroad.com/
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Re: I envision a new RR line in northern California.

Postby JonCavender » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:25 pm

rr503 wrote:The current plan though, is to rehab the original NWP route, although that will probably not be completed for several decades. Currently, track is open as far as Petaluma, but they say that they will have rehabbed to Willits by 2020.
This is the NCRA website:
http://www.northcoastrailroad.org/
NWP fan website:
http://nwprr.net/
And the highly incomplete website of the RR itself:
http://nwprailroad.com/


It looks like the Trinity River is missed altogether. My idea is to have the scenic Mad, Trinity and Van Duzen Rivers on a new line for excursion train appeal.
The Eel River Canyon line of the original NWP is a long-standing failure and should be avoided rehab in the future.
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Re: I envision a new RR line in northern California.

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:29 pm

Building a new Railroad in Ca,will be tough go of it,rebuilding the NWP is the better bet,
because the ROW already exisits.
ANY new ROW will need EIS's from the State and the Feds,NIMBYS will fight,as will various enviromental groups
along the proposed ROW. Any seed $$ for this will be used up by legal fees/expenses.
You will be court for years on end on a lost cause.

The last Major Railroad Build in Ca was the Alameda Rail Corridor,a joint build by UP and BNSF,
done in LA County,both RR's had many hoops to jump thru at the local,state and federal levels.
Suggest you read thru the history of that project.
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Re: I envision a new RR line in northern California.

Postby JonCavender » Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:37 pm

Backshophoss wrote:Building a new Railroad in Ca,will be tough go of it,rebuilding the NWP is the better bet,
because the ROW already exisits.
ANY new ROW will need EIS's from the State and the Feds,NIMBYS will fight,as will various enviromental groups
along the proposed ROW. Any seed $$ for this will be used up by legal fees/expenses.
You will be court for years on end on a lost cause.

The last Major Railroad Build in Ca was the Alameda Rail Corridor,a joint build by UP and BNSF,
done in LA County,both RR's had many hoops to jump thru at the local,state and federal levels.
Suggest you read thru the history of that project.


The trouble with the existing NWP right-of-way along the Eel River Canyon from Willits on north to Scotia is that it has proven geologically poor real estate for trains over nearly a century.
It would take about a half a billion dollars or more to rehab that 100+ mile stretch along the river banks and Mother Nature could ruin it over night with a heavy rain at any time.

Back in 1870, railroads should have grabbed right of way through Trinity County to the Sacramento Valley in the east on more solid terrain way back then if they could have.I don't know who the the surveyor was for NWP back in the 1910's when the Eel River Canyon was laid.

http://eelriver.org/2011/05/eel-river-r ... h-to-kill/
http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/sho ... ver-Canyon
http://www.eelriver.org/Spring07/dilemma.html
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Re: I envision a new RR line in northern California.

Postby dowlingm » Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:01 pm

the way things are going in Calif. at the moment, the best new railway opportunity will soon be decontaminating DOT111s and bringing them south from WA filled with water...
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Re: I envision a new RR line in northern California.

Postby rr503 » Sat Jul 25, 2015 5:34 pm

JonCavender wrote:
Backshophoss wrote:Building a new Railroad in Ca,will be tough go of it,rebuilding the NWP is the better bet,
because the ROW already exisits.
ANY new ROW will need EIS's from the State and the Feds,NIMBYS will fight,as will various enviromental groups
along the proposed ROW. Any seed $$ for this will be used up by legal fees/expenses.
You will be court for years on end on a lost cause.

The last Major Railroad Build in Ca was the Alameda Rail Corridor,a joint build by UP and BNSF,
done in LA County,both RR's had many hoops to jump thru at the local,state and federal levels.
Suggest you read thru the history of that project.


The trouble with the existing NWP right-of-way along the Eel River Canyon from Willits on north to Scotia is that it has proven geologically poor real estate for trains over nearly a century.
It would take about a half a billion dollars or more to rehab that 100+ mile stretch along the river banks and Mother Nature could ruin it over night with a heavy rain at any time.

Back in 1870, railroads should have grabbed right of way through Trinity County to the Sacramento Valley in the east on more solid terrain way back then if they could have.I don't know who the the surveyor was for NWP back in the 1910's when the Eel River Canyon was laid.

http://eelriver.org/2011/05/eel-river-r ... h-to-kill/
http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/sho ... ver-Canyon
http://www.eelriver.org/Spring07/dilemma.html


Both ways have NIMBYs
Eventually, if service is ever restored to Eureka, it'll be via the NWP, not new-build, only because a. there is already gov't money behind it NCRA, and despite CA's rail friendly mentality, I doubt that they'd scrap this idea and build new. It's too hard.
Personally, I favor new build; the Eel river route has shown its faults, and they will probably trump any capital cost savings over time.
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