The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit's (SMART) board last week approved a California state-sponsored plan that calls for the agency to take ownership of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co.
The complex agreement was years in the making, with the sale's framework established in a 2018 bill that provided SMART with $4 million to buy the railroad, its equipment and exclusive rights to its track from Larkspur to north of Cloverdale, The Press Democrat reported last week.
Under the plan, the insolvent state agency known as the North Coast Railroad Authority would be dissolved, ceding 21 miles of track not owned by SMART from downtown Healdsburg to the Mendocino County line to help one day complete the agency's planned 70-mile passenger line to Cloverdale.
The framework for the sale was established in a 2018 bill sponsored by state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, that provided SMART with $4 million to buy from Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. its equipment and exclusive freight rights to the track. An obscure and insolvent state agency, the North Coast Railroad Authority, would ultimately be dissolved under the plan, ceding 21 miles of track not owned by SMART from downtown Healdsburg to the Mendocino County line to help one day complete its planned 70-mile passenger line north to Cloverdale.So the now-abandoned parts of the NWP line will become yet another rail-to-trail.
The endorsement also advances McGuire’s effort over the coming decades to construct a 320-mile recreation pathway from the San Francisco Bay to the Humboldt Bay, lends momentum to extending SMART service on an existing east-west railway along Highway 37.
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District’s (SMART) board earlier this week authorized funding the design and construction of a second commuter-rail station in Petaluma, California.
SMART will use $8 million in proceeds from the sale of a downtown property to fund the construction of a new station and parking lot at Corona Road and North McDowell Boulevard, SMART officials said in a press release.
Northern California’s Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) has assumed freight operations and common carrier duties from Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company in Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties, after acquiring right-of-way from the North Coast Railroad Authority.I do wonder what they're going to use for locomotives (new or purchased from NWP), and why they can't eventually expand all the way to Eureka.
The agency, which runs a 45-mile, 12-station DMU (diesel multiple-unit) passenger rail system from Larkspur north to Sonoma County Airport and has plans to expand further north approximately 25 miles to Cloverdale, acquired approximately 88 miles of right-of-way in March 2021 from North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) and the rights to operate it on July 11. Freight services have been provided by Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. (NWP) since 2011.
SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian said the agency will consider, during the next six months, two options for how it will continue to provide freight service—through an outside contractor, or in-house. In the interim, NWP will continue running the freight operations. NWP has served about five customers three times per week between Napa and Windsor, on 21 miles of line, since 2011.
SMART acquired the freight operations from NWP using $4 million provided by the state in 2020. The agency also received about $2 million to address an estimated $10 million in deferred maintenance for those operations. The funds were included in California Senate Bill 1029.
Pensyfan19 wrote: ↑Thu Jul 15, 2021 6:24 pm I do wonder what they're going to use for locomotives (new or purchased from NWP), and why they can't eventually expand all the way to Eureka.Only Sonoma and Marin Counties have passed referendums to subsidize SMART train operations. To go further north, more counties will have to pass referendums to subsidize the train system.