North Coast Railroad Receives Authorization to Re-Open Rail Service
- The O-fficial word from the North Coast Railroad Authority:
The North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) and its freight operator, the
Northwestern Pacific Railway Co. LLC (NWPY) jointly announce the receipt of
Notice of Partial Release from the limitations of Federal Railroad Authority
Emergency Order 21 on February 1, 2001.
The release allows the railroad to resume service between Lombard and Mile
Post 43 near Penngrove, a distance of 40.8 miles. The railroad was closed by
the issuance of FRA Emergency Order 21 in November of 1998 due to
non-compliance with State and Federal requirements. The re-opening
represents the first step in providing freight rail service to the many
communities and businesses along the line that extends northward paralleling
Highway 101 to its end at the Port of Humboldt Bay.
State and Federal funding sources were utilized for much of the repair work,
but it has been the freight operator, NWPY, that has funded the final
completion. The Governor's Traffic Congestion Relief Program has identified
$60 million to address NCRA's identified funding needs.
"This is a great first step in getting the entire North Coast Railroad up
and running. The opening of this line is a collaborative effort with the
NCRA, the employees who have put so much into this railroad, the State, and
all of the people who live on the North Coast. We should all be proud of
today and remember it as a monumental step for the North Coast." said State
Senator Wesley Chesbro, a long time supporter of the re-establishment of
rail service to the North Coast.
"This day has been a long time coming" said David Ripple, NCRA's recently
appointed Chairman ."We can now start providing freight service to the
shippers along this section of the line. This is an important first step
towards re-establishing service all along the North Coast. There has been
significant cooperation from all participants to complete this important
initial phase. We look forward to providing service to mile post 63 in the
"Rail service will begin in the very near future", stated Mr. John Darling,
CEO and Chief Financial Officer of NWPY. "We will announce an official
start up date within the next few days. All the employees of the NWPY are
looking forward to serving our customers who have been very patient awaiting
the reactivation of service. They deserve, and will receive, the best
service we can give them."
The next segment of the line to be opened will begin at Mile Post 43 and end
at Mile Post 63 at Windsor River Road, Windsor, CA. The NWPY is currently
working on the track structure and highway crossing protection north of
Penngrove in preparation for the next FRA inspection and the continuation of
further partial relief of Emergency Order 21. A contract for the work
required to re-open from Windsor to Willits will be let by NCRA this spring
with completion expected by early summer.
The NCRA is a public agency that owns that portion of the former
Northwestern Pacific Railroad between Healdsburg and Humboldt Bay and is
responsible for providing freight service over the entire line. The
Northwestern Pacific Railway Company, LLC is a common carrier providing rail
transportation, management, and business services.