Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hemphill Fights Back

Looks like Allan Hemphill, Chairman of the North Coast Railroad Authority, isn't happy with Dan Walters' recent slam of the NCRA. No surprise there. He's one of many people determined to re- establish the rail lines, at least from Willits southward, no matter what.

It will be interesting to see if Dan Walters makes any sort of rebuttal. I hope so, but I'm not sure that Walters does that sort of thing.

In any case, I'm still wondering whose pockets all the millions of dollars that have been thrown at he NCRA have ended up in?

22 Comments:

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great question Fred.

Considering it'll take a billion or so of our taxpayer dollars to MAYBE get the railroad up and running... what are our alternatives?

How about first getting the highways opened up to I-5 (Redding) and 101 South to the Bay Area?

Then maybe we can attract more businesses that aren't afraid to locate in Humboldt County to get their products to market.

 
At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to sound like a Europe-loving Arcatan, but look at Europe. They build rail systems. We build roads.

If you had kids and had experienced a rail line, there would be no expense too great to establish rail service in Humboldt. It beats driving by a long shot, and makes the most sense in Humboldt where we could benefit from service between towns as well as access to the bay area and all points outward.

I would fully embrace a tax to get rail service in Humboldt. The bus system is a joke.

 
At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There isn't the ridership. You would like to subsidize the few hundred or so riders?

 
At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The billion it would take to get the rail up and running is just for freight. Its is not intended and will very very unlikely in our lifetime carry people for transit purposes. This is why NCRA does not have in its business plan or any other plan to move people or be apart of a commuter rail system.

A big problem is we are not Europe and will never be Europe. We don’t have the population density that Europe has. There is no such place that has an independent commuter rail that would service so few people. And so we would need to rely on federal or state subsidy on a grand scale and that is not coming to Humboldt County any time soon.

As far as getting to the Bay Area, because of the geometry of the tracks, the train would take over 10 hours just to get to Cloverdale (maybe once a day if your lucky). That’s assuming reliability. You can bet the fair would be quite costly as well. It could never compete with the bus. And do you think the people to the south would want to subsidize our train fare?

 
At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is amazing here is how we as a country and as a state allowed the rail line to disintegrate. Talk about wasted money.

 
At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought rail has been dead up here for the past 7 years or so. Just look at the tracks themselves, they are totally overgrown. Arcata is starting to just pave over sections of track. Its probably been about 7-10 years since the last time I remember any trains going anywhere up here. They used to have the train go from Eureka to the pulp mill for cruise ships. But next time you drive between Eureka and Arcata via Manilla check out the track along the bottoms. Its been washed out in several locations, so its totally useless.

 
At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A rail line for the North Coast makes about as much sense as a buggy whip factory for Arcata.

 
At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is amazing to me is how the rail line was disintegrating from before the first day it was open. The state didn't let it fall apart. It just can not keep up with the forces of nature and local geology.

 
At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They build rail systems. We build roads."

You mean they "built" rail systems. Now they build roads. Hate to say it, but this is the current trend in Europe. Yes, they have many more trains. But it is not an expanding system. Not compared to the roadway systems, which are expanding.

 
At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I would fully embrace a tax to get rail service in Humboldt."

That tax would be about $5,000 per household just to build it. Do you suggest we make that a ballot measure?

 
At 8:29 PM, Blogger Fred said...

2:01 wrote: "What is amazing to me is how the rail line was disintegrating from before the first day it was open. The state didn't let it fall apart. It just can not keep up with the forces of nature and local geology.".

That's the problem. As I've said before here, I actually like trains, there's just not enough commerce to make the line from Willits to Eureka worthwhile, at least not anymore.

Every time we get an inch of rain around here, the rail line got shut down from landslides and such and it would cost millions in repairs. I would think, back when we had timber to ship out, it might have been worth it to fix the damage (or was it?). Nowadays, what kind of commerce do we have that would make it worth maintaining the line?

It would have to be subsidized (like nearly all other rail services), likely to even higher levels than the non- existent railroad is being subsidized now.

Just seems like a pipe dream, to me, with a few fortunate people likely lining their pockets with the money that has been sent to NCRA since the line closed down.

 
At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Open rail lines are a no brainer, even up here where it is ridiculously expensive to maintain tracks. If there was money in it for a large private business, the taxpayers could easily open the lines and maintain them. Consider the costs of our roads in comparison.

 
At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me why tax payers elsewhere would want to subsidize a railroad that principally benefits a large private business here?

 
At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry 3:06, you don't know Europe. France just opened a new rail line that runs 200MPH. The EU continues to expand its rail system while we embrace cars

 
At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, my bad. The new French rail system runs 357MPH.

Of course, you can also look to Japan for fast rail, though there are those tragedies involving giant lizards and flying turtles.

 
At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea, that’s what were gonna get here one day. Yup. NCRA is the bullet train to the future.

And I'm sure those new trains connect to out of the way communities of less than 150,000.

Its not about how right it is or how bad you want it. Its about whether for some reason the federal and state government wants to pay for it and maintain it long term (in addition to the roads). Don't you think there are other bigger rail priorities than Humboldt County? Why would this spur get funds over all the other upgrades to actual operating railroads (in places where voters live)?

 
At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That French train may be new and faster. But the rout of the rail line is not an expansion (it has been used a long time) and it is not going through anything like the Eel River Canyon. Apples and oranges.

 
At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

European cities also have traffic problems, despite having an excellent rail system. Try driving in Paris.

 
At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Traffic problems in Paris will not bring rail to Humboldt County and niether will NCRA.

 
At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as we're considering spending Billions of dollars on improving our rail system. Why not consider running a line north to the town of Klamath. (half the rail beds are still there from the steam days)
From there up river to Yreka, and the main rail artery. The grade from Klamath to Yreka is ideal and it would also give C.C. and Brookings a way to access nation wide markets.
The result would allow Humboldt Bay to really compete with the other ports on the west coast.

 
At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys, Fred's not at his house...

 
At 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Rail up the Klamath. That an even bigger fantasy than down the Eel.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home