Home > Railroad > Railroadies revive East-West line idea

Railroadies revive East-West line idea

Die-hard supporters of rail-port development are calling for a feasibility study on a rail line from Eureka to Red Bluff.

“We’re not saying it should happen, we just want to take a look,” said attorney Bill Barnum.  He said the idea was originally hatched 140 years ago but lost out to rail construction that connected Eureka south to the San Francisco bay area where the demand for timber spiked after the 1906 earthquake.

Barnum said it hasn’t been determined who would do the study — or who would pay for it — but he wants to get people talking about whether they support the study.

Councilwoman Linda Atkins said she supports the idea of a study but wants private funds to pay for it.

Barnum was joined by members of RAPIT (Rail and Port Infrastructure Taskforce), Bill Bertain and Pete Oringer, who said the need for jobs and infrastructure would be boosted by an East-West line.

No action was taken by the Council, but Councilman Mike Newman said he wants to see it back on the agenda in January so they can vote on a resolution.

More at the Lost Coast Outpost: Eureka CC to Mull Great East-West Railroad Phantasm

  1. Mike Buettner
    December 20, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    And monkeys might fly out of my butt.

  2. December 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Don’t these Worthies understand that “government doesn’t create jobs?” Don’t they listen to Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or read High Finance? Why are they wasting their time talking to government?

    They need to go find some “job creators” to fund their study.

    have a peaceful day,

  3. Plain Jane
    December 20, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Maybe Walmart will fund it. They would save a lot of money if they could supply Eureka and Crescent City by train from their Red Bluff Distribution Center and cut a bunch of living wage jobs for truck drivers. WIN / WIN!

  4. Pete Nichols
    December 20, 2011 at 10:17 pm


  5. sentient@gmail.com
    December 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    This would be actual infrastructure that would provide actual, tangible benefits and genuine changes to the economic, social, and cultural realities of Humboldt County. So naturally it will be ignored by “serious people” who will continue to do nothing.

    Humboldt can benefit greatly from three things: Rail to the Central Valley, an active Port in the bay, and improved telecom infrastructure. If you develop these things, you have an actual economic base and future in the area. Widening highways, building subdivisions, or whoring yourself out completely to tourism will not provide the kind of foundation that you need.

    Humboldt was built on a resource that was unique to the area being shipped out of the area. It was done using boats and rails with great success. A century later we have telecommunications to aid that. You have a beautiful, wonderful area, with unique people and skills, and many thousands of people who don’t live there now because they don’t find opportunity to stay and don’t have the infrastructure available to build their own businesses on. This is how development works. Yes, build it, and they will come.

    Humboldt can support a small port, light manufacturing and other light industrial, and businesses that provide services using telecom infrastructure.

  6. Pete Nichols
    December 20, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    …..and be careful of the Buettner Butt-Monkeys….vicious!

  7. Ponder z
    December 20, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    train transit is as outdated as communism.

  8. Bill Barnum
    December 20, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Be careful not to stand behind Mike.

    And Pete, you sound like the conservatives in the 1960’s who labeled JFK a lunatic for wanting to land a man on the moon within the decade. We achieved that. So, 130 miles of new rail does not seem so far-fetched.

    Anyway, we are not breaking out the bulldozers just yet. We simply want a feasibility study by one of the leading railroad engineering firms. Don’t get hurt feelings if we don’t rely on Mike and Pete for the answers.

    Merry Christmas!

  9. December 20, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    My fear is that if they build it they will come.

  10. Anonymous
    December 20, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Why is landing on the moon always part of the conversation about railroads and Humboldt County?

  11. Anonymous
    December 20, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    BTW, Humboldt County did not land a man on the moon.

  12. Anonymous
    December 20, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Eureka to Red Bluff? Wow. If you’ve ever taken Hwy 36 to or from Red Bluff, then you’ve got some idea what that terrain looks like. Now imagine trying to put a railroad through there. It would be quite an engineering feat, to say the least.

    I mean from an engineering point of view, sure, you can build and maintain a railroad just about anywhere, if given enough money. Just look at the railroad that goes through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. But in this case it’s hard to imagine that there would be anywhere near enough demand for rail transport in and out of Humboldt to recoup even a tiny proportion of the gargantuan capital investment that would be involved.

    It almost makes me wonder if the idea is to make re-opening the existing north-south rail line through the Eel River Canyon sound a little less outlandish, at least compared to the idea of blasting a whole new line to the east.

  13. McKinleyvillan
    December 20, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    The Lost Coast Outpost has a rundown of all the other fantasies the City of Eureka has decided are goals for the next year in their 2011 Strategic Visioning:

    ~the never-ending discussion over Cutten Annexation,
    ~the development of the McKay Tract,
    ~boosting revenues,
    ~booting out the homeless,
    ~“keeping families here,”
    ~developing the waterfront,
    ~updating the city’s general plan,
    ~hiring more cops
    ~and — I’ll be goddamned! — the never-say-die Waterfront Drive Extension Project, which the Coastal Commission and the Coastal Conservancy have both long promised to torpedo.

    Watch for Alice and the Mad Hatter at the next meeting.
    Down the rabbit hole!

  14. SNaFU
    December 20, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Dear Bill:
    The real winners are the ones that will be doing the “study sessions”. [i.e. attorneys, engineers, geologists etc etc]
    There was boo coo bux spent over the years for a working rail system south since the folld of ’64.
    NWPRR still holds right of ways all the way to Ukiah.
    Why don’t you fix what is already existing.
    Check out this link > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhCjYNKXNvk

  15. Pete Nichols
    December 20, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Bill– Happy Holidays to you as well. I am curious about funding a feasibility study for something that is not at all feasible or practical? After witnessing the $200K that Dave Hull extorted from Headwaters Fund the ‘feasible’ Deep Marine Terminal, I and a majority of the community are weary of these ‘glory days’ proposals we are seeing surface in a climate where that line of thinking just does not work.

    I cannot believe a ‘new’ rail line in this day and age that does not move people, and traverses some of the most unstable and rugged terrain in CA? How about we pitch in and buy you folks a topo map and a USGS Soil Survey and call it a wash?….. in the holiday spirit and all, …..and forget this silly idea even materialized. How ’bout we focus on trails, restoration, and real local jobs where folks need not be ‘greeters’. That is what this community wants.

    Here’s an idea….how about the ‘rail enthusiasts’ run their train from Samoa to the Marsh where visitors can then get off the train and rent bikes. Then they ride around the Bay to F Street Dock where the Madaket picks them up and takes them across the Bay back to where they started……..jobs, trains, tourism, and the environment. Now that I would advocate for at the Headwaters Fund!

    Happy Holidays.

  16. SmokeMonster
    December 21, 2011 at 12:11 am

    As long as Renners monopoly on gas supply isn’t threatened like the old north/south line did,then I imagine there will be fewer tunnel fires and rail issues.

  17. SmokeMonster
    December 21, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Anyone know how much of the proposed area between Eureka and Red Bluff is owned by the Barnum timber family?

  18. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Hiring a railroad engineering firm to do a feasibility study will be a slam-dunk. (Our local silly-billies remember their horror when Eureka spent tens of thousands of dollars on a respected, independent economic firm that concluded Eureka was saturated in low-wage retail in 1999!).

    If this area’s “Big Barnums” had community-interest in mind, they would finally drop their “free-market” Voodoo and hire independent professionals to complete a comprehensive economic feasibility study first, to determine what industries could actually come, once the train is completed.

    You know…to make sure it’s not just another handful of good ol’ boys hoping for easy money harvesting the gravel on Great-Granddaddy’s riverbanks.

    After all, it wasn’t that long ago that local good ol’ boys harvested our city’s infrastructure to make a killing building (higher profit) big homes on Great-Granddaddy’s cheap land 10 miles from downtown. They were the first to be paid and could care less about the moratoriums left in their wake. Big homes, big cars, big medical procedures….all mean the same thing; bigger profits and big bailouts.

    Humboldt’s “Big Barnums” played their local-role in the economic collapse, and they’re busy at the courthouse fighting to maintain their “God-granted freedom” to make a killing on the next housing bubble!

    How they retain credibility is the blessing of ubiquitous media self-censorship.

    Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like an inconvenient legacy.

  19. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 12:46 am

    So let them study it. As long as I don’t have to pay for it, it’s no skin off of my nose.

  20. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 4:22 am

    It would be quite an engineering feat, to say the least.

    Incorrect. It would be quite a political feat. As engineering endeavors go, it’s nothing special at all — quite ordinary by today’s standards for human achievement. Can it be funded? Probably not. Could it be built if funded? Absolutely, no question about it.

  21. December 21, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Trains transport a hundred times more tonnage per gallon of diesel and any other mode of transportation. Or maybe it’s a thousand; I’ve forgotten the exact number.
    I think trains are another good example of New Anti-American Centurions killing a public service so they can steal it in the name of: “Privatization.”
    My Idea, that I’ve shopped around on this site over the years; is to build a giant tidal powered air compressor on the shore, and setup pneumatic (modern) trains that go from say…Crescent City to Garberville (just for starters) And make sure there’s a train every hour.
    That is what it realistically takes for public transportation to work. Buses, trains; need to run every half hour at the most. maybe an hour for a train.
    I realize my plan would never see the light of day. The only energy cost would be the maintenance of the sea-pumps. No, I’m not an engineer. But I’m sure the pumps that only compress air would be a lot more environmentally safe than a system that generates electricity.
    It’s the same ol’ story. The Anti-America crowd steals infrastructure, privatizes it, and things that were “outdated” or “draining public money” like the post office, Amtrak, or “municipal water companies”; suddenly become great profitable businesses.
    There is a crime taking place every day. We are being robbed, every day. Every time you hear a hue and cry about “Private” financing because the government is broke; you know the fix is in. Trains are currently unprofitable because they have been made that way. Amtrak is a great example. Congress has passed so many laws concerning Scheduling, location, and policy; that it is almost unusable in the west. It took the NAAC’s 30yrs to kill it. It’s too critical in the East, so it still exists. But, in the West; it’s dead on arrival.

  22. December 21, 2011 at 6:05 am

    My fear is that this railroad is not the
    ‘people-mover’ but a way to get minerals (rock)
    Trees? burp….Fish…..same. Next step- minerals;
    sand rock.
    We are about to let loose a torrent when the
    dams are removed. the cheaper our resources
    can be shipped outtahere the quicker we’ll see
    the usuals lined-up to exploit full hilt while socializing
    the costs (railroad) and privatizing the profits (mineral
    When that process is through, as the former
    Eel River Canyon route has shown- complete devastation,
    slides miles long! ‘We’ the people are paying while the ‘usuals’ benefit.


  23. walt
    December 21, 2011 at 6:10 am

    I’m with Pete: a good ol’ steam engine on the existing line would be a real winner. . .if you could pry it out of the cold, dead hands of the NCRA (which only exists to give people like Dan Hauser and some lawyers something to do other than real work).

    And BTW, when you dig the tunnel to Redding, you might want to line it with rubber. . .earthquakes might happen here.

    Is Bill any relation to Phineas T, who said “Every crowd has a silver lining.”?

  24. 713
    December 21, 2011 at 6:31 am

    The American Association of Railroads estimates that if an additional 10 percent of truck volume were shifted to intermodal, the annual savings would top 1 billion gallons of fuel.

    What will contribute to more inter-modal growth? Infrastructure expansions and diesel prices. With rail efficiency, the cost-effectiveness of a transcontinental haul is obvious, but when diesel gets expensive, benefits apply to short hauls as well.


  25. Decline To State
    December 21, 2011 at 7:03 am

    If the East-West line was originally abandoned in favor of the North-South line because of the booming lumber market in the Bay Area who exactly is going to ship on the new line? Domestic timber sales are such a small part of our economy anymore and a good portion of what it keeping our much reduced local timber industry alive is exports. That takes a bay not a railroad.

    That being said, it’s really none of my business how private funds are spent but it seems to me that smart money would invest in the bay.

  26. December 21, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Pete, what I find ‘stunning’ is that you
    are not advocating for our coastal wetlands.
    It is no longer a secret that our restoration (read
    eradication) efforts have drained our Cowardin wetlands
    and created a wasting process. These dunes, that are
    being destroyed were here thousands of years before
    amophylla was introduced.

    The absolute opposite of greening, combined with
    relative sea-level rise, spells environmental disaster,
    fragmentation and
    salt-water intrusion into freshwater marsh.

    Why don’t you weigh-in, so we can gauge how effective
    our local enviros really are. Thanks for the help with the
    Balloon Tract please do not let that be at the cost of our
    seaside wetlands, that is not a good exchange.
    How about using the Headwaters Fund to get water to our
    drained Cowardin wetlands and fencing/planting for
    the fore dunes BEFORE they blowout to the marsh.
    You do not have much time.

  27. Bolithio
    December 21, 2011 at 7:24 am

    Good luck with the train. I hope it works out.

  28. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 7:30 am

    When pigs fly . . .

    Weapons of mass distraction – You see? Now the discussion moves away from the other bomb that dropped – Walmart

    Who benefits? Property owners

  29. Mitch
    December 21, 2011 at 7:45 am

    My Idea, that I’ve shopped around on this site over the years; is to build a giant tidal powered air compressor on the shore, and setup pneumatic (modern) trains that go from say…Crescent City to Garberville (just for starters) And make sure there’s a train every hour.

    So all you need do, moviedad, is convince a bunch of private investors that your plan will work and can be done in such a way that they will make a profit selling tickets. Or, in the alternative, convince 51% of some jurisdiction’s voters that it is worth doing whether or not it will pay for itself.

    That might take a while, so perhaps a better approach than going directly to the investors or the public would be to go to a college (or, if none will work with you, a high school) and run some very preliminary numbers. For example, how much might it cost to build “a giant tidal powered air compressor on the shore?” What size would it need to be to push a train? What would be its environmental impacts? What would be its cost per kWh equivalent?

    While to do that in any accurate way might require building a scale model, you might be able to get order of magnitude results just from looking at some textbooks, or by speaking with a civil engineer. If the results looked favorable, you could spend a while looking around to see why nobody else has accomplished a similar project (or perhaps you will find similar projects, and can investigate them).

    Then, you might need to do a study to determine how many riders you would have per train if the trains ran once per hour. You could start by imagining that a ticket between Redding and Eureka would be free. One starting point for any such number would be the hourly traffic on 299 between Redding and Eureka. Then you’d need to find out how many riders would choose alternative methods if you charged a certain amount of money for a ticket.

    You could figure out what the actual cost per passenger mile would be. That would give you information you could present to the voters in a form like this: “For a cost of $x per voter, we can have pneumatic trains running hourly between the cities of Eureka and Redding. They would carry y passengers every day, for a cost per passenger of z.” If the numbers were satisfying, you might attract a following.

    Personally, I think regular blimp service would have less environmental impact, but people might think that’s crazy.

  30. 713
    December 21, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Moviedad, you will never get past the coastal commission. Try it in another state.

  31. Pitchfork
    December 21, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Minimum of 1 billion dollars easy. who’s gonna pay for that? hey Rob, this was your baby, wheres the money?
    McKinleyvillan is right on, except you left out completely destroying the westside

  32. High Finance
    December 21, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Restoring the rail line is not for some tourist type amusement but for commerce. If it is possible it would aid in the development of the harbor and would create many good paying jobs.

    One of the things that government is supposed to do is create & maintain our infrastructure. This feasibility study is the government’s responsibility.

    Those of you who say it can’t be done and shouldn’t be even studied sound like you are descendents of the people that made fun of the Orville & Wright brothers.

  33. Mitch
    December 21, 2011 at 8:27 am


    I’m delighted to discover you think the government has a role!

    Do you think the government should do feasibility studies for every idea a citizen has, or do you think there should be some threshold requirements? Because I’d really like a free feasibility study for my blimp commerce idea, and I have a lot more where that one came from! Do you think levitating the balloon site and sending it offshore to get rid of the toxins might work? What if we used hundreds and hundreds of blimps?

  34. educated guess
    December 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

    “Those of you who say it can’t be done and shouldn’t be even studied sound like you are descendents of the people that made fun of the Orville & Wright brothers.”

    …or, like people who know a teeny weeny bit about geology.

    Good idea, Pete. Give them maps and a box of crayons for Christmas/

  35. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 9:08 am

    How about we compromise and just build a 101 bypass around Eureka? OK, it’s not the same thing, but it sure would make my life easier and save on gas.

  36. December 21, 2011 at 9:17 am

    “If it is possible…”

    Surely HiFi means, “if it were possible,” for what little we have left of the subjunctive mood in English, this idea requires it.

  37. December 21, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Oh good lord, more railroad talk…just in time for xmas…oh joy!

  38. Thorstein Veblen
    December 21, 2011 at 9:42 am

    If the railroad was remotely feasible, Goldman Sachs would be financing it already, and somehow sticking taxpayers with the bill. Weren’t they sniffing around the harbor a few years ago?

  39. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 9:49 am

    We need Cape Canaveral West on the Samoa Peninsula! Think of all the jobs! I want a study NOW!

  40. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 9:51 am

    The Wright Brothers (including Orville) used their success in the bicycle business to fund their flight endeavors. They didn’t go to the local council with hat in hand for a fat government subsidy. Flight was a hair-brained idea and they had to show it could work before they got funding. And, they didn’t expect a fat paycheck for a “feasibility study” from their local government. What the Wright Brothers actually showed was that flight could be controlled (others had already flown).

  41. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 9:54 am

    If we’re talking about a $1 billion for a new train route so we can get good to the I5 corridor, what about just moving Eureka to a location near Redding? Then we truck the logs and good to the new Eureka. Think of the jobs and transportation opportunities! According to HiFi a feasibility study would be the government’s responsibility.

  42. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 10:09 am

    “…or, like people who know a teeny weeny bit about geology.”

    I do know about geology, and that is not really the issue. As stated above, engineers can and have tackled some outrageous geologic and geographic obstacles. There are rail lines in some very challenging setting.
    The question is at what cost and to what end. The answer is – at a very high cost and to a low end in terms of paying customers. Why would anyone ship to a low volume, shallow port, and then pay high freight costs to get your goods over to I5 when one can go directly to Oakland, Seattle, or even Portland? Do we really need a feasibility study for this one?

  43. jr
    December 21, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I seem to remember a similar proposal for a train from Eureka to Red Bluff around 1988 or 89. It was one of the projects looked into when the various Chambers of Commerce held an economic development conference at the Eureka Inn which resulted in the report entitled “What Businesses Make Sense for Humboldt County” Noted economist Tappen Monroe from San Francisco was one of the keynote speakers.

  44. Percy
    December 21, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Anti tax hypocrites like you hi fi poisoned your own well. Do you really think that the big anti tax majority that you helped create and are a part of and doesn’t even want to tax itself to educate their dumber than dirt progeny will want to spend tax dollars on a feasibility study for a project that will be privatized and not repaid to the taxpayers? Like the House tea baggers like to say, “how you wanna pay for that?” I know, let’s shut down another fire station or dump some more cops. Why wouldn’t you want the risk takers and job creators to fund their own study? Why is free market Job Creator Barnum begging for public money from a bankrupt local government that doesn’t even have enough funds to pay for public safety? I thought you boys were all about taking the risk so you could get the reward. Spreading the payment for this farce among the tax payers of Humboldt County sounds a wee bit socialistic to me…… Moviedad, I love your pneumatic railroad. We could incorporate pot tourism into it and also haul some of the medicine from the grows along the Eel River canyon to the dispensaries with it. Might have some stiff competition for Hank’s steampunk zeppelin though. Hank, you got that feasibility study funded yet?

  45. High Finance
    December 21, 2011 at 10:29 am

    The left always pretends it is interested in “good paying” jobs, just look at the signs at the Courthouse. But it is only pretend and they only pretend when they want to stop a business like Home Depot or WalMart who they claim only provides low paying jobs.

    But anytime anybody pushes any idea for any kind of good jobs you all come up with objections.

  46. High Finance
    December 21, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Percy, you think only in cliches’ that match your prejudices. I’m conservative therefore I am opposed to all taxes as all conservatives are opposed to all taxes.

    Balderdash. Perhaps you should try to educate yourself.

  47. December 21, 2011 at 10:49 am

    “The left always pretends it is interested in ‘good paying” jobs…'”

    And “conservatives” like HiFi think that retail is a solution.

  48. Somewhat friendly
    December 21, 2011 at 10:56 am

    All this talk about what could be shipped to a small shalllow port . . .
    Obciously you need to understand international shipping. The large shipping companies (the guys with the boats) choose the ports with the best profit margins for the shippers. So any port can entice shiping lines to not only call at the port, but to invest in infrastructure at that port.
    Ah, we are all ignorant, just in different subjects.
    As for building it and they will come, well then don’t build it and look who came anyway, a bunch of NYMBYs so that it can never change. Change is life, life is change. Look in the mirror and see the change. This area will change because of population growth.

  49. December 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

    If someone is to build a rail to what I
    guess to be the I-5 Corridor, may I ask-
    what is it that is to be shipped?

  50. Percy
    December 21, 2011 at 11:08 am

    HiFi, you’re right. Conservatives only oppose all taxes on the rich. Because they create jobs. Now about that risk, reward thing. Public money for the feasibility study, which seems to me to be taking a risk. I mean what if the feasibility studiers come back with a negative conclusion? That’s tax money that the tax payers risked. Don’t you think that is depriving the risk takers of the risk that is their justification for the reward they get later from running the railroad at a profit? Sorry about all the cliches’ and lack of education.

  51. common cents
    December 21, 2011 at 11:18 am

    The railroad is gone. It is not comming back. Reality please!

  52. December 21, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Hank, you got that feasibility study funded yet?

    Sadly, I cannot claim credit for the steampunk zeppelin service idea. That was Gulo.

    What was Gulo’s last name and what happened to him/her? You blazed brightly there, Gulo, but then you faded away!

  53. What Now
    December 21, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Here we go again.
    The local overgrown boys and their big boy toys.
    Walt was right on the money@6:10 AM:

    “the NCRA (which only exists to give people like Dan Hauser and some lawyers something to do other than real work).”

    I’ve see heard far better bullshit schemes from far slicker shysters than the bunch calling for this move.

    Let the bastards advocating this hold a bake sale and solicit funds from Highly Fried, Wal-Mart, the ever financially responsible General Growth Properties and the various land owners scheming to sell otherwise problematic land parcels to the east.

  54. tra
    December 21, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of rail becoming more and more attractive as fuel prices rise. But given the massive costs of either restoring and maintaining the railroad through the Eel River Canyone or punching a whole new route through to Red Bluff, even with the substantial fuel savings compared to trucking, the volume of freight being carried by the railroad would have to be huge for the whole thing to pencil out.

  55. Mike Buettner
    December 21, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Maybe is the sometimes rumored nuclear waste train to Nevada.

  56. Decline To State
    December 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    PiginaPoke says:
    December 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

    If someone is to build a rail to what I
    guess to be the I-5 Corridor, may I ask-
    what is it that is to be shipped?

    I posed the same question earlier PiginaPoke. Apparently the answer is of less importance than “if” we can build it.

    I, like you, can’t see how it could possibly support itself even if it were possible.

  57. Not A Native
    December 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Oh I get it now. This is a holiday season story created to evoke feelings of faith and belief. The birth of a new railroad during the celebration of the birth of Our Savior. A Miracle On 5th Street.

    Is Barnum’s partner in this a Mr. Bailey?

  58. tra
    December 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    According to today’s Times-Standard:

    The idea, as explained by Barnum, is that the east-to-west rail line might be more feasible than the north-to-south corridor, which is plagued by geology in the Eel River canyon. The east-to-west line, Barnum said, would serve to connect Humboldt County with rail shipping lines heading north to Seattle, south to Long Beach and east to Chicago.

    He estimated the ultimate cost of a 130-mile, east-to-west line would be “something along the lines of $500 million,” and said the feasibility study could cost about $250,000.

    Council members issued tentative support for the idea of passing a resolution in favor of the study and asked that the matter be agendized for a future meeting for further discussion.


    So $500 million divided by 130 miles = $3.85 million per mile.

    However, the original 1910 article Hank linked to refers to the potential east-west route as being 175 miles long, not 130 miles long.


    Anybody know what happened to that other 45 miles?

  59. McKinleyvillan
    December 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    @Dan E.
    what’s stunning to me is how you’ve shopped around your baseless notions of supposed wetland impacts of weed removal in the dunes, yet so far not one ecologist/biologist/botanist sees any truth to it. Nor has any planner at any agency…because there is no validity to it whatsoever.

    The discussion was about trains, remember?

  60. High Finance
    December 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    So Joel, you’re opposed to “retail” jobs AND good paying jobs also ?

    You may look down your nose at the retail jobs, but for someone out of work and wanting work they look fine.

    Good for you Percy ! Admitting your lack of education and understanding is the first step toward improving your life.

  61. December 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Mckinleyville, really? Have you read the Busch Geotechnical
    reports? By the way, site specific-Manila Overlook, name one expert who’ll put their name on that mess.
    Have them ready for a photo-op.
    The query was to Pete, remember. Quisling.

  62. Apologist Not
    December 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    High Finance says:
    December 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    “You may look down your nose at the retail jobs, but for someone out of work and wanting work they look fine”.

    AKA “minions” by “High Finance.”

  63. Somewhat friendly
    December 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Don’t know what would be shipped? Look at other ports – it would be the same stuff. We ship little plastic bottles all over the place. Does that really make sense?

  64. Alan B.
    December 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    A rail line to carry what? A proposal to revive the Ukiah line was based on carrying a single load of gravel each day. Hardly worth the rebuilding and maintenace of the line.
    Real growth would come from a Medical Research center at HSC, an electronic/optics/mechanical engineering dept at HSC with technology incubator in Humboldt, better air service and road access. Build on what we have and avoid old resource extraction centric ideas.

  65. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    The industrial age must evolve quickly in preparation of the end of cheap oil. The perfection of waste has been a profitable, monumentally unsustainable failure.

    They’d better build it fast, our cheap, poor quality steel from China, won’t be available forever.

  66. retired guy
    December 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Hey HiFi, it’s Orville and Wilbur Wright, not Orville and Wright. You obviously flunked history, so stop demeaning folks who don’t meet your education requirements. Not only that but you’re so wrong re: retail as a great job (most aren’t even full time–no benefits, and, if you earn $10.00 or more, you’re lucky). Then you go on, in favor of another study re: a viable railroad. Geez, HiFi, you’re slippin’.

  67. Somewhat friendly
    December 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    The railroad runs on ELECTRIC engines. The diesel is used to generate electricity. Ports ship all kinds of goods. Have you no ears to hear with? Location of the port is irrelevant to the shipping company

  68. walt
    December 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    You may need some tunnels. Here are some examples of how much THEY cost these days.

    Seattle is on the verge of building a 3.15 mile extension of the Central Link light rail system from Westlake to the University of Washington. The extension will add two stations to the light rail system. The tunnels will be entirely bored. The total cost is presently estimated to be $1.7 billion:

    Seattle Central Link Univeristy Extension
    $1.7 billion / 3.15 miles = $540 million/mile

    New York is planning the 2nd Avenue subway. This will be an 8.1 mi. from 125th Street and Park Avenue in East Harlem to Hanover Square near Wall Street. The line will feature a mix of cut-and-cover and bored tunnels. The total cost is estimated at $16 billion:

    New York 2nd Avenue Subway
    $16 billion / 8.1 miles = $1.975 billion/mile

    Feasibility in Northern California: Zero.

    My fee: $100

    There. That was easy.

  69. walt
    December 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Oh, you meant to use Chinese people, like last time, and pay them in fish heads and rice?

    Hmm. . .maybe you’re onto something, Phineas. I mean Bill.

  70. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Cost of the new caldecott tunnel bore in the bay area is half a billion for half a mile. Stated cost, you know Caltrans….their new “to be completed by 2004” $4 billion dollar bay bridge is going to cost at least $12 billion in total expenses now and it’s not even finished.

  71. Mitch
    December 21, 2011 at 3:57 pm


    Raise your fee.

  72. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Lets list all our competing studies that we want, then start getting resolutions for them. Sound so productive. I will start.

    I want a study to build a new university in Humboldt County. I guarantee that it will cost less and create more jobs than a train.

    Who’s next?

  73. educated guess
    December 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Anonymous 10:09 says There are rail lines in some very challenging setting…

    Sure, like the one going through the Eel River canyon. And how is that one holding up?

    Engineers, in their arrogance, might do some amazing things, but check it out later to see the side effects: tap water that catches on fire, earthquakes generated by pumping oil out of the ground, railroad lines that are impossibly expensive to maintain, and on and on…

  74. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Go for it Bill, and not a penny of our tax dollars nor a penny of headwaters funds, cdbg, redevelopment etc etc etc etc to payfor it. enough of the monopoly money filched to line the pockets of landowners, deep water port owner in this instance, old buddy buddy contractors etc. I believe the people are telling you no. You like it, you pay for it. we have had quite enough of the old boy mentality and corruption around here.

  75. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Allan B, Nuclear Waste to Yucca Mountain or something of this caliber knowing these folks. Think about it, no big cities, deep water port, short hop to I5,then east or North to 97 maybe to Hanford WA even. These guys are the same types who’d like to see an LNG plant in our Bay. It is about developing the port and selling fuel. Oh wait, they could ship something nasty in, maybe tires from LA, those are a renewable resource dont you know, you can burn them to make electricity.

    not a penny Bill, not a penny

  76. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    The best thing Humboldt County can do to stabilize its economy…that is a guarantee to recognize a greater “quality of life” ranking in the national scheme of things in the nearest future…is to place an immediate moratorium on “Development” and “Timber”. Humboldt County would be acting within the best interest of Humboldt County to protect it’s most precious natural resources…uninhabited open space and fresh water sources. The more time that passes, the better everybody’s quality of life gets, it’s not even debatable.

    The only people who stand to benefit from “Development” are Developers. NOBODY else wins.

  77. December 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    if highway 101 were left unmaintained it would be just as passable as the rail line…

  78. December 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Sorry Bill, old classmate, that one’s a non-starter. But no one would stop you from paying for a feasibility study. Go for it. But not a dime of public money for any part of it. Happy holidays to you and yours, in any case.

  79. tra
    December 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Over at the Lost Coast Outpost, Hank has posted a map of the proposed east-west route. Starting from Eureka, the route actually heads north, then east, then briefly northwest, then a whole lotta southeast, some east, and finally back toward the northeast, ending in Redding rather than Red Bluff.


  80. Leland Stanford
    December 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    educated guess says:
    December 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    “Engineers, in their arrogance, might do some amazing things, but check it out later to see the side effects: tap water that catches on fire, earthquakes generated by pumping oil out of the ground, railroad lines that are impossibly expensive to maintain, and on and on…”

    Um, you might want to educate yourself on how the Eel River route was selected, instead of the alternate route that made some sense. The engineers do the best they can with the route selected by the capitalists and their politicians.

  81. skippy
    December 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Here’s a little bit more at the Sentinel about the Phantom train and related comments for interested folks, though it’s been pretty well covered in this column thus far.

  82. High Finance
    December 21, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Retired Guy, you obviously don’t work for a living neither do you care about folks who do.

    You sound very hard hearted.

  83. 713
    December 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    If they stay on the ridges, they should avoid the soft ground. You know why the ridges are there, right?

  84. tra
    December 21, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Skippy’s piece on the Sentinel contains this claim:

    “The new line, as proposed, would ride on top of the landscape ridges eliminating major repairs of unstable terrain.”

    I see some of this ridge-top running on the proposed map, but it looks like there’s still plenty of rough terrain along the route, especially where it descends into what looks like a bowl of spaghetti as it approaches the Hayfork area.

    Skippy’s piece on the Sentinel also contains this little tidbit:

    “The Barnum family owns significant land and timber holdings in the Redwood Valley watershed through which the newly proposed line would traverse.”

    Pure coincidence, no doubt.

  85. 713
    December 21, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    TRA look at it on google earth

  86. tra
    December 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Okay, I have Google Earth open. And I can see the general area. Now what?

  87. gulo
    December 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    @hank, I’m right here, laughing my fat ass off. These RAPIT chuckleheads have never been out Grouse Creek way, I’d wager. Little chunk of mountain there called Devastation Slide they might want to eyeball.
    very truly yours
    – Gordo

  88. 713
    December 21, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Tilt it, zoom in and follow the ridge…I’m not picking a fight. it is an interesting idea, especially since warren buffet acquired bnsf last year or the year before and is looking to expand his railroad west. He put 5 billion into b of a, surely we’re a better bet than that.

  89. Anonymous
    December 21, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    “He put 5 billion into b of a, surely we’re a better bet than that.”

    And we’re supposed to like the guy WHY?!? The #1 ripoff bank in America, the one that claims its own national name, is a primary source of his fortune.

  90. December 22, 2011 at 5:45 am

    Ok so my “Blow-me” train is a non starter. Ok, I’m crushed. I’m just a few billion short.
    But what about a small municipal transportation electrical train from Arcata to Eureka, every half hour?
    No? Ok, how about a handcart, and a couple of Community Service workers to pump it? No?
    A kinetic sculpture? NO? Jeezsch!

    Seriously though….
    I think the whole idea is the Humboldt could be “connected” to the rail line, which is good for everybody; and not the point of origin for the goods being shipped. But of course, until we get the capitalist out of government; we can’t trust them to do anything for the “People”, it’s all smoke and mirrors to loot the treasury,
    That’s really all modern capitalists do, is loot “Real” goods, Liquidate “Real” manufacturing.
    The modern capitalist has nothing to contribute to America, they don’t produce anything, they just steal wealth from real “Job-Creators” (manufacturing-construction-service). And to show how corrupt they really are; they don’t even get taxed on their stolen money. Putting a million Americans out of work to make profits for a couple of men, isn’t a business-plan; it’s treason.

    I like the train idea, everything that was good for the people was killed so the capitalist could more easily rob the population. So bringing back things like trains, hospitals, fire districts, public anythings; are a great idea. Just make sure the capitalist is safely behind bars before you try any major public works. If he’s involved; we’ll get robbed, again.

  91. Mitch
    December 22, 2011 at 7:38 am

    moviedad wrote,

    “Ok, how about a handcart, and a couple of Community Service workers to pump it? No?”

    And here you are approaching a kernel of truth in the conservative anti-regulation arguments. Many people on the left simply hiss down anyone who brings it up, because they believe it is an attempt to fool them, and because they think people in politics can be easily sorted into the good guys and the bad guys.

    Regulation often serves as lock-in for the already existing vendors, by raising the floor for new entrants. Your handcart with a few community service workers is actually a great idea, IMO. But there will be a fleet of government bureaucrats who will insist you meet the same safety standards (etc…) as the existing train manufacturers. This is enough to drain the spunk out of a great many potential innovators. Our society does make some exceptions, but not nearly enough. One example is experimental aviation.

    Our roads are supposedly safer because of all this regulation. There’s no doubt in my mind that cars with air-bags are safer than cars without air-bags, that cars with safety-belts are safer than cars without safety-belts. And I’m glad Ford and GM were forced, kicking and screaming, to pay the extra dime and install these features.

    The nagging question in the back of my mind is, what if the government let more people come up with a far wider variety of cars, by eliminating 99% of the rules for companies manufacturing 1,000 or fewer cars in a year? Would we have seen the same sort of burst of innovation in car efficiency and safety that we saw in the computer software industry once you could go into the software business with a $5,000 machine instead of a $500,000 machine?

    I think the answer is probably yes, and it is a big open question in my mind whether regulatory bodies (particularly those that let the big boys have pretty much everything they demand) are a net benefit or a net loss. The people who think that human nature magically changes for the better when humans are acting on behalf of “government” as opposed to “private industry” may now hiss.

  92. Politico
    December 22, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Way off topic, but does anybody have the campaign finance data from the following races? Just looking for the totals.

    Marks vs. Ash, Harbor Commission 2010

    Leonard vs. Kuhnel City Council 2006

    Neely vs. Flemming Supervisor 2006

  93. 713
    December 22, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Imagine The same thing for housing. Everybody complains about the cookie cutter homes, but when the regulations dictate every aspect of construction, you end of with a very narrow set of possibilities. Factor in the uncertainty and cost of trying something “new” and innovation is lost.

  94. December 22, 2011 at 8:39 am

    “So Joel, you’re opposed to “retail” jobs AND good paying jobs also?”

    Where did I say that, HiFi?

  95. retired guy
    December 22, 2011 at 9:31 am

    HiFi–You don’t know shit about what I do for a living. Re: caring for other people, you are a classic example of a conservative who basically cares about the bottom line and not much more. If you think people working retail locally can live the American dream, you have your head up your ass further than I originally thought. Merry Christmas.

  96. educated guess
    December 22, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Leland says:

    “Um, you might want to educate yourself on how the Eel River route was selected, instead of the alternate route that made some sense. The engineers do the best they can with the route selected by the capitalists and their politicians.”

    Well, Leland, looks like the capitalists and politicians are at it again.

    What’s the best engineers could do with this proposed route?

    Bottom line: makes no difference to the engineers, as long as they get paid. Have you ever heard a consulting engineer say “hell no, this just won’t work”?

  97. High Finance
    December 22, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Uh “RETIRED” Guy ?

    You are the one who is using the moniker “Retired”. This indicates that you are retired and NOT working for a living.

    Another example of your refusal to think, is the simple fact that most people would prefer to work a retail job instead of no job at all. While a better paying job would be better than a retail job the worst choice is no job.

    You might try harder in the future.

  98. December 22, 2011 at 10:52 am

    HiFi will serve capital until the aggregate of America’s
    wealth is in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
    My guess.

  99. Mike Buettner
    December 22, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Six bucks and my left nut says it’s the nuke train.

  100. tra
    December 22, 2011 at 11:40 am

    “…it’s the nuke train.”

    Perhaps you could elaborate…I’m not sure what “the nuke train” means in this context.

  101. Mike Buettner
    December 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Long rumored transportation route to Yucca Mountain for storage of nuke waste from the military and power plants. The money is still there (many billions) for Yucca and infrastructure. Stalled a bit by Obama but I am sure there are lots of investors who want a piece of the pie if things change in Washington.

  102. Apologist Not
    December 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    High Finance says:
    December 21, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    “Retired Guy, you obviously don’t work for a living neither do you care about folks who do. You sound very hard hearted”.

    This is coming from the provocateur/curmudgeon who calls them “minions”!

    By the time this boondoggle brakes-ground, it could be a China-owned corporation that does the work…like the $7 billion Bay Bridge they just completed.

  103. Dan
    December 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Mike, would that make sense?
    Our nuke plant isn’t even a nuke plant anymore.
    Are you saying we’d spend that amount of money
    just to move ‘stored material?’

  104. Mike Buettner
    December 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Not (just) ours. There is no route to get the stuff there from anywhere. Ship it to Humboldt Bay and then to Yucca Mt.

  105. Mike Buettner
    December 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    “Currently there are no rail routing regulations such as there are for highway routing of radioactive waste, and none are anticipated, according to Nevada transportation expert Robert Halstead. Rail rights-of-way are privately owned and restrict the regulatory abilities of state, tribal, and local governments. As a result, units of government below the federal level will have only limited input into routing rail shipments of spent fuel. Federal law requires that the DOT study both dedicated (radioactive waste only) and general-commerce trains to identify the advantages and disadvantages for each mode of transport.”


  106. Jack Sherman
    December 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Too bad there’s not much independent, community-interest media left in Humboldt County, or the U.S..

    Imagine the outrage if unemployed families were kept informed of their massive infrastructure subsidies going to communist China-held corporations!

    Imagine the local outrage if Barnum’s land holdings along the potential train route were given the headlines the story deserves! Or, reading routine follow-ups on Barnum’s tireless fight against housing regulations to ensure his continued access to the public infrastructure for homes that most local incomes can’t qualify for!


  107. Mike Buettner
    December 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Connect the dots.

  108. Dan
    December 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Mike, we could follow John Ross’ suggestion,
    Don’t ship the nuke out- immoral.
    build a monument to our stupidity around it.

  109. Matt
    December 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    “So let them study it. As long as I don’t have to pay for it, it’s no skin off of my nose.”


  110. Anonymous
    December 22, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Yessirreee Bill, and Rex Bohn for Supe.

  111. Anonymous
    December 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    “Currently there are no rail routing regulations such as there are for highway routing of radioactive waste, and none are anticipated”

    Rails are also used for storage. Fill a tanker full of recycled oil when it is cheap (or what ever) and park it on a side track til the value of the oil peaks, then hook it to a train and ship it to the refinery. Free storage, unregulated, etc.

    Hey lets invest some Headwaters money to help these fine guys with their study.

  112. Anonymous
    December 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    So from looking at the routes link above, thanks Mike, all you would have to do would be punch an east west rail through less than 150 miles and you would have the only deep water port with access to a rail route for shipping toxic materials to Yucca Mountain for the whole west coast with the exception of San Diego. The whole west coast.

    I actually heard rumors from inside of Cal Trans 6 or 7 years ago about a study regarding this, only they were studying a freight route over 36. I actually know of employees who left when they figured out what they were being duped into justifying.

  113. Mike Buettner
    December 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Indeed 3:29. And without restriction or local input.

  114. retired guy
    December 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    HiFi–Yes, I am retired. I had a relatively good job locally and worked in personnel for a number of years. My background included performing a number of salary surveys and other studies related to job market matters. At the time I performed these surveys, most retail positions were part time and principally held by second job types and students. If you think someone can maintain a residence, pay for food and pay all living expenses and health costs on that kind of money, I maintain you do have your head where the sun don’t shine.

    We are talking about a “living” wage here. As an example of how retail approaches this issue, Walmart provides info to there new hires on how various government sources can assist them due to the inability to survive on what they pay. In other words, government supplements them so they may be able to survive.

    As I indicated earlier, retail jobs, of which there are already plenty of, are not the answer to our economic woes. Yes, it is better to have a retail job than no job. But in a lot of cases, that’s about it.

  115. skippy
    December 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Tra @8:31; in regards to the Sentinel article and your/our last paragraph, Mr. Barnum said this was ‘not true.’ A correction was made to the article and for the awareness of readers here.

    Carry on.

  116. tra
    December 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    My apologies to Mr. Barnum for repeating what was apparently an unsubstantiated rumor published on the Sentinel.

    Apparently I shouldn’t have assumed that the Sentinel had checked to see that the information it was publishing was accurate.

    I guess next time I’ll wait for another source rather than relying on the Sentinel.

  117. December 22, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    I trust Heraldo knows how much you add to his blog…cudo’s and keep on keeping.

  118. December 22, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Tra is every bit as graceless as the
    seaside restoration work he advocates.

  119. tra
    December 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    “Tra is every bit as graceless…”

    I’m just disappointed in the Sentinel for not checking their facts a bit more carefully. Hopefully just a simple oversight.

    The reason I apologized to Mr. Barnum is that I take responsibility for repeating the rumor, despite the fact that the only place I had seen it was on a blog (the Sentinel). I should know better than that.

    “…as the seaside restoration work he advocates.”


  120. Anonymous
    December 22, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    “So let them study it. As long as I don’t have to pay for it, it’s no skin off of my nose.”

    The problem is these studies keep the railroad MYTH alive. In the mean time we go through several decades without the walking and biking trails could be created from the rail right of ways. It’s a loss of cheap transportation, healthy living, and tourism. It is skin off my nose when I consider how many low income kids could be biking to CR or how many working people could be riding between Arcata and Eureka. The railroad myth (which has been “discussed” for a good 15 years now) prevents an urban trail from becoming a reality.

  121. High Finance
    December 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Yeah, because you know, so many people would use those bike trails. Cost of millions for a couple dozen people ?

  122. December 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    However, if those “couple dozen people” were hedge fund managers or purveyors of bundled toxic mortgage funds, HiFi would want to build them a sparkling bridge to unicorn land while cutting their taxes.

  123. skippy
    December 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Tra, duly noted. Ouch. Thank you for your comment to try harder and be better. That is well-taken. Skippy tries, sometimes falls short being human, and still learning. Mr. Barnum is a gentleman on his word, thus the correction on my part for fairness and accuracy.

    Larry M., thank you.

    Happy and healthy Holidays to all, you and yours~ skips

  124. Anonymous
    December 23, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Has High Finance actually gotten out of his house to see how many people use trails around here?

  125. December 23, 2011 at 7:50 am

    “I’m just disappointed in the Sentinel for not checking their facts a bit more carefully. Hopefully just a simple oversight.”

    My feeling exactly about your arrogance in dismissing anyone
    who dare point-out the disturbing results of seaside eradication.

    At least Skippy apologized.

  126. High Finance
    December 23, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Don’t become a troll Joel.

  127. Anonymous
    December 23, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Hi Fi is the troll on this one – throwing out an uninformed snarky comment.
    Had he any knowledge of the Humboldt County Regional Bicycle Plan or similar documents he would know there is an estimated 2,000 bicycle commuters even with our crappy roads. And, that there is federal and state support and plans to increase commuting by bicycle. It improves health, lowers emissions, and decreases energy dependence.
    But HiFi would rather we sleep walk through WalMart with visions of a mythical railroad that will never appear.
    I’d bet anyone that we won’t see a functioning commercial railroad in Humboldt County within our life times, but I’d be dead by the time I could collect. Meanwhile the rail lines are off limits for a simple conversion to trails.

  128. December 23, 2011 at 10:23 am

    You were using idle speculation to illustrate a point. I was simply following your example, HiFi.

  129. Bill Barnum
    December 23, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Thanks, tra, for your comments above.

    None of the proposed route of the East/West rail would run on my family’s property. I don’t know who dreamed that up. I also don’t see how having a freight rail system on one’s property would be any direct benefit. The rail route will require some accommodation for its right of way. There will not be revenue-producing stops or sidings along the way. The whole notion that having rail on one’s rural property is a benefit is a mystery to me. Our lands are tree farms, and rail is not a direct benefit to owning such lands. Rail may be of benefit, however, to those who own mills. My family does not own a sawmill (never has).

    The claim that my family would directly benefit from having rail on our property is an example of what happens to us in our community. when we disagree about something. Blog posters often ascribe the worst motives to others, especially to fellow blog posters.

    I, for one, am respectful of the fact that we have serious and heart-felt differences of opinion about the future of our county. Those who favor trails often suggest they must exist at the expense of rails. I hope we can have both. I understand that these differences are more than merely philosophical. Many good people want to see no change or growth in our area. I respect that difference in opinion. But I do not agree with it.

    Let’s face our limitations. Humboldt Bay is a small port. It could, perhaps, support one container-to-rail facility. But we also need to continue to support our fishing industry – even though it is smaller than historically, it remains important to us. Likewise, we all want to see the recreational uses on the Bay protected. We enjoy seeing the HSU crew and kayaking on the Bay.

    As for the East/West rail idea, it is not new and it was not (by any means) my idea. It was envisioned in the 1870’s, from both the Red Bluff end and from Humboldt. The Palco interests, however, won out in the prior century and the one rail connection to the Bay Area prevailed. After being damaged some 13 years ago, I doubt it will be restored in the South Fork section between Scotia and Willits.

    In the next century, a “land-bridge” rail connection to the National Rail System in the valley makes more sense. American goods can be shipped over rail to our port for export and Pacific Rim goods transferred from ships to rail for markets east. The issue now is whether it is feasible – financially, physically and environmentally. I am no expert, but there are experts who can answer the question. I think we should seek answers to those questions.

    While I respect that posters here think that is lunacy, a myth, or whatever, it would be good to seek a qualified opinion about the matter. If the answer is no, then it is done. But if it is possible, and someone has the capacity to make it work, we should explore that idea further. I do not think this means the end of trails. It could mean they may be realized even sooner than without rail.

  130. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 10:35 am


    Oh, now I get it — you’re the guy who believes that invasive-plant removal efforts have backfired and are destroying the dunes.

    I honestly don’t remember all the details of the discussion you and I had, though it must have gone poorly from your point of view, since apparently you’re still holding a grudge.

  131. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 11:58 am

    “There will not be revenue-producing stops or sidings along the way. The whole notion that having rail on one’s rural property is a benefit is a mystery to me. Our lands are tree farms, and rail is not a direct benefit to owning such lands.”

    I see your point, and I don’t know how much of the proposed route is private land anyway — my understanding is that a large portion of it would be on National Forest land.

    But for those private lands that the rail line would go through, I can imagine two ways in which a railroad might produce revenue for a rural landowner: (1) purchase of the right-of-way itself, and/or (2) the potential to haul timber (and perhaps gravel?) out of remote areas for less than it might cost to truck it out.

    Whether those items would amount to much or not, I don’t know. But as I recall, the 1910 proposal was predicated on the idea of paying for the construction of the east-west railroad by hauling timber out of the national forests. And of course the more recent proposal to re-open and maintain the north-south line was to be paid for mostly by hauling gravel.

    So I don’t think it’s all that far-fetched to wonder whether part of the impetus for this proposal might be the prospect of facilitating resource extraction from some of the remote lands (both public and private) that the proposed rail line would run through.

  132. December 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    vv”you’re the guy who believes that invasive-plant removal efforts have backfired and are destroying the dunes.” Tra
    That is me.
    And you,
    you are the guy who believes that when ones native natural progression trees (dominant species) are dying- one should just shut-up.
    You are the one that advances the concept of coastal-erosion
    as a positive.
    You are the one that doesn’t know or understand what is required to sustain a coastal wetland, I’ll go as far as you do not even understand where the wetlands are or even what one is or the role they play in coastal resilience.

    It is not all your fault.
    The County is bending-over backwards to black this knowledge out.
    Hand in hand with HSU and FODs
    It is all about money now, shhh let’s not let anyone know that are
    wetlands are being trashed.
    I’d expect this in the past from Weyerhauser or LP , but not from the civilized or educated.

    Again, walk to the Manila Overlook, that use to be full-forest-
    (Schuster aerial 1947), if your stomach will allow, check the newly stripped fore dunes. Now tell me how ‘green’ our future is.
    Nice clubhouse, I especially like the ‘wetlands’ parking.

  133. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    As far as the idea of shipping cargo to and from Asia through our port and this proposed rail line, it is my impression that the trend is toward larger and larger container-ships — so I’m skeptical that Humboldt Bay would be an attractive option if that means that shippers have to transfer the cargo to smaller ships/barges in order to use our port. I suppose that would depend on how crowded/expensive other West-Coast ports are.

  134. Anonymous
    December 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    12:02, re: the wetlands, I’m curious…my heart is in them, I have mixed feelings about “restoration” and “preservation” as they’re being carried out right now. Coastal erosion is happening frighteningly fast, you don’t have to live right by the coast like I do to notice. The last 5 years have seen more erosion than the previous 20. The proof is in the pictures. I’m all for Friends of the Dunes, or so I believe, they’re definitely ‘good people’ as I’ve experienced entirely. But stripping vegetation and trees from the coast…firm groundcover…seems ass backwards in a lot of ways. I haven’t noticed an encroachment of damage as far as vegetation is concerned, but maybe I don’t know what I’m looking at. I know the spanish broom plants are bad, obviously, but removing trees…even the larger coastal eucalyptus (as in, right on the coast), which have the ability to drink all the water they need and not be a drain on the watershed, are fantastic windbreakers, shade cover, etc. I see them being replaced with nothing…small shrubs at best.

    But I’m suspect of something else regarding bashing the friends of the dunes…what do you personally think of Humboldt’s uber-real estate mogul, Mr. Arkley’s beef with the friends of the dunes folk?

  135. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    “And you, you are the guy who believes that when ones native natural progression trees (dominant species) are dying- one should just shut-up.”

    That’s funny, I don’t recall telling anyone that they should “just shut up.” On this issue or any other.

    “You are the one that advances the concept of coastal-erosion as a positive.”

    No, I’m pretty sure I never said that, either. I’m starting to sense a pattern here.

    “You are the one that doesn’t know or understand what is required to sustain a coastal wetland, I’ll go as far as you do not even understand where the wetlands are or even what one is or the role they play in coastal resilience.”

    I’m not an expert on coastal wetlands (and I don’t claim to be). Are you?

    “It is not all your fault.”

    Well that’s a relief!

  136. Anonymous
    December 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Bill Barnum says:
    December 23, 2011 at 10:27 am

    “Many good people want to see no change or growth in our area”.

    Yes, it’s the rallying-cry of those poor speculator/underdogs; Barnum, Bareilles, and Kluke, huddled together in South Eureka, fending-off the hoards that would make them felons!

    Have they even been to a “No-Growth” meeting?

    Why would Sill Billy tell the truth, when a lie will do?

    If Barnum is serious, the first feasibility study should be economic; what are we going to be shipping and in what quantity to justify a train. Will China win the construction bid?

    Despite Barnum’s protestations, we have zero enterprising reporters to research a rail-line to identify land ownership, then trace that ownership back to local individuals. Barnum knows this. A large land owner could easily win a million dollars for an easement.

    Easements for Eureka’s Martin Slough Interceptor were settled nearly a year ago, except for Barnum, of course!

    God only knows what they’ll end up squeezing out of taxpayers, another few thousand bucks? Or, is it that trail that’s being required as part of the Interceptor’s state-funding that’s giving the Barnum’s ulcers?

    Heaven forbid that Eureka’s gulches and sloughs be connected by trails, raising the property values by 20%-30% while substantially increasing the quality of life for families.

    But, that’s not what our local speculators are about!

    Their successful priority has been to dominate local politics, get the city and county to limit regulations, enforcement, and fines, rubber stamp their projects, thus, enabling continued subdivision profiteering beyond infrastructure capacity…for homes far outside the reach of local incomes.

    It’s comical to watch them squeeze Eureka for compensation for the easements required by their own negligent agenda.

    Happy Holidays to all!

  137. December 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Anon 12:12 Wetland classification was done by Cowardin and
    accepted 40 years ago by USFWS.
    It has not reached Humboldt because you can not simultaneously
    strip vegetation from a sand dune and expect wetlands to function.
    Key words- Cowardin, wetland, coastal dunes, vegetation.

    What is the source of friction between FODs and Arkley?
    Other than the alliance between Baywatch and FOD and
    now NEC?

  138. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Are some of the methods that have been used to try to remove invasive plants and restore more native vegetation doing real, lasting harm to the local ecosystem, harm that outweighs any potential benefits, or is the appearance of the post-restoration dunes and wetlands more along the lines of a temporary situation that will resolve as native plants rebound in the restored areas? My (admittedly non-expert) impression is that it’s too early to say.

    If those doing the restoration work are successful in getting native vegetation re-established in the areas they’ve removed invasive plants from, then we’ll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

  139. December 23, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Tra, ” then we’ll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. ”

    Jesus Christmas Tra, those trees and dune forms are not your toys
    Damage is massive you wont even look….

    Forest to Desert, what is the fuss about? This is just the tip,
    on the dunes it is all about ‘process.’ The process you are advocating leads to desertification, wetland loss, habitat loss,
    wildlife and stability gone.

    So irresponsible and backwards but keep telling the kids
    to pull vegetation on their coastline, that way when the marsh
    becomes salted and the wetlands collapse,
    we can blame it on them.

  140. Harold Knight
    December 23, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Many Many:

    Don’t waste your time on tra, he spent days concocting ludicrous reasons why I had failed to agree with his absurd belief that, “Occupy Eureka supporters need to be mindful of whether yesterday’s tactics will work today”, when, in fact, supporters NEED to show support by participating in tactics that have hardly changed in our nation’s history.

    He may not be an expert, but he has the hubris of one.

    Be wary.

  141. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm


    What comes across plain and clear is that you are 100% sure that your own opinions and predictions are 100% accurate, and you think it’s obvious that everyone should agree with you, so you’re offended when anyone doesn’t.

    And since I don’t think it’s obvious that I should agree, I guess you’re going to continue to find that offensive. Sorry, not much I can do about that.

  142. December 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Sorry, Mr. Knight, et al, but TRA is rhetorically kicking your asses.

  143. December 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Joel, when dominant species struggle
    to survive and decline, you master of rhetoric- just
    what does that mean?

    Also- erosion, interesting tool.
    Sort of like selling your soul, eh?

    Want to advocate for dead trees Joel?
    Do so in your own damn neighborhood.

    Happy Holidays to all.

  144. ntnative@gmail.com
    December 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    What Barnum neglects to reveal is that this group went to the Harbor District asking for public funds(and were turned down). And since no one knows what the ‘railroad’ would be used for, its not unlikely that property owners along the way would request sidings as one of many conditions to grant an easement.

    No two ways about it, this idea would enrich the owners of land along the route(at public expense). Whether that’s a primary motivation of the proponents like Barnum is unclear. But you can be certain they know which side their bread is buttered on. Thats how they got to be Fat Cats.

    What’s funny is that Barnum acknowledges that a railroad South of Scotia is not possible. But how can he know that without a “study”? He cites the fact that its been abandoned for 13 years. Guess he figures that if no one(with money) sees it as possible then it isn’t possible. But at the same time, Barnum thinks a East route is reasonable to ‘study’, despite that for over 100 years that idea has been unattractive to anyone(with money).

  145. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I was wondering why WW/etc and Harold felt compelled to inject their seemingly unrelated blogrudges into this thread.

    But then it occured to me that perhaps WW/etc and Harold are simply celebrating Festivus:

    “The celebration of Festivus begins with the “Airing of Grievances”, which takes place immediately after the Festivus dinner has been served. It consists of lashing out at others and the world about how one has been disappointed in the past year.


    If that’s the case, then far be it from me to interfere with religious practices. Carry on…

  146. Anonymous
    December 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    12:44, thanks. I suspected an arkley basher, as he aquired some dunes and flaunted ownership at the behest of public use.

    I’ve read your posts here about the dunes, and your reasoning seems valid…at least as valid as the counter argument being presented by the veggie-rippers. (seems like a fruitless task to me, but what do I know.) I see plenty of erosion here, the mouth of the mad river changed dramatically over the course of a few years around ’05 and continues to whither…looks bleak. Fern Canyon continues to collapse in on itself as dry weather and erosion increase, as well as more and more uprooted trees in the thick.

    Willfull ignorance, to deny it. Anybody who chooses to pay attention can begin to see the changes gaining speed…smart planning like natural resource renewal (less consumption) NEED to happen. Our great grandchildren are already going to think we’re all a bunch of blind and brainwashed idiots.

  147. Anonymous
    December 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    NAN, you pompous ass,

    “After being damaged some 13 years ago, I doubt it will be restored in the South Fork section between Scotia and Willits.”

    does not equate to ” a railroad South of Scotia is not possible.”

    Try to wipe the froth from your mouth and debate the issues based on what Barnum acually said, not your hyperbolic interpretation of said comment.

  148. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I don’t think taxpayers should have to pay for a feasibility study for something this proposed east-west rail line. If proponents want to raise the money for a feasibility study themselves, then fine, let them have at it. I think they’d probably be wasting their time and money…but at least they wouldn’t be wasting mine.

  149. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    At any rate, it’s interesting route… and from an armchair historian point of view, it makes me wonder how the county might have looked today if this east-west route had been pursued way-back-when, instead of the north-south railroad.

  150. Anonymous
    December 23, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Bill, for full disclosure, please let us know who paid to create the map that you have been showing around town.

  151. Bill Barnum
    December 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    The map shows the route mapped by surveyor Jess Lentell in 1909. There was a group of investors then proposing the “Humboldt and Eastern Railroad.” I don’t know the names of those folks. Earlier, before 1900, railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington had proposed a similar route from Red Bluff to Humboldt Bay. He died in 1900. The map I have “been showing around town” simply retraces that route as Lentell had walked it. Lentell made about 80 pages of field notes in 1909. It makes for interesting reading. Back then he proposed going to Redding, partly along a route known as the Platina Road today. Railroad folks suggest that the better route today would be to near Red Bluff.

  152. Sid Berg
    December 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    “ntnative@gmail.com says:
    December 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm
    What Barnum neglects to reveal is that this group went to the Harbor District asking for public funds(and were turned down). ”
    Of which was a pre-existing federal “use it or lose it” grant to “enhance or improve highway-rail access to Humboldt Bay”.
    It could have been used to prove or disprove an alternate way to connect our port to the rest of the country, without the arguing and litigation over restoring the railroad thru the Eel River Canyon. This study could have included a mechanisim to plan a 1st class rail/trail along the same route. If an east west route is possible, (nobody knows for sure) it could help make a case for rail-banking south to Wilits. The Harbor district killed any of that by directing the Transportation Efficiency Funds (TEA-21) to “explore and plan access to the Redwood Marine Terminal” of which they already have deeded access to Highway 255. Seems like a short sighted use of the funds to me,
    This area has already lost millions of dollars of economic value from business that would have located here if we had rail access. That would translate into good paying jobs with benefits, and an increase in local tax base which would go a long way to funding many needed local services including trails and restroom facilities.

  153. Shot Caller
    December 23, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    No train, no public potty. Bad minions!!

  154. Harold Knight
    December 23, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    tra says:
    December 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    “What comes across plain and clear is that you are 100% sure that your own opinions and predictions are 100% accurate, and you think it’s obvious that everyone should agree with you, so you’re offended when anyone doesn’t”.

    tra says:
    December 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    “I was wondering why WW/etc and Harold felt compelled to inject their seemingly unrelated blogrudges into this thread”.

    Far be it from tra to ignore them!

    Could it be tra and his ego/M.O. that attracts this attention?

    tra makes it 100% clear that his opinions are 100% accurate and was offended when I disagreed, launching himself into an unrelenting game of ascribing nefarious reasons why I must be disagreeing with him!

    I’ve never read such a persistent display of raw ego since Joel crapped on Cindy Sheehan just before her local fundraiser for V.F.P.

    WW deserved a heads-up. Joel and tra deserve a rhetorical ego-enema.

  155. Harold Knight
    December 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Sid Berg says:
    December 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    “This area has already lost millions of dollars of economic value from business that would have located here if we had rail access”.

    I want to agree with Sid.

    That’s why an economic feasibility study, at a fraction of the cost of an engineering feasibility study, should be completed first.

    Right Sid?

  156. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Except, Harold, I wasn’t offended by the fact that we disagreed. Seems more like it was the other way around, and still is.

  157. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 10:45 pm


    Physician, heal thyself.

  158. Anonymous
    December 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Bill, who turned the “about 80 pages of field notes” into a map? That seems like a lot of work that would have to be done by someone who knows what they are doing. Was it done for free?

  159. Harold Knight
    December 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    tra says:
    December 23, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    “Except, Harold, I wasn’t offended by the fact that we disagreed. Seems more like it was the other way around, and still is”.

    Another shining example your egotistical spin. I was justifyably angry, not offended. I don’t even know you.

    Go back and look, there was very little FACTUAL disagreement!

    You made an absurd statement, then spent a dozen posts dodging it (by immediately altering your original premise)…claiming repeatedly that I must be an “authoritarian” for not agreeing with your corrected version, when I actually agreed with it!

    After many ludicrous, manipulative posts, you decided to “stand by” your original statement after all:(see 2:08 above).

    For someone seemingly “offended” by unrelated blogrudges, you seem to be enjoying yourself a little too much.

    This would be more appropriate on the correct string.

  160. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    I’m not “offended” by your seemingly obsessive need to introduce your unrelated grudge to this thread. I find it silly and kind of pathetic, but not offensive.

  161. tra
    December 23, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    “I was justifiably angry.”

    Sometimes people aren’t the best judge of whether their own anger is justified or not. That’s the nature of anger…it often tends to cloud one’s judgement.

  162. William Verick
    December 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    What are they going to ship on that east-west railroad? Old growth Redwood logs? Maybe lots of fish? Or how about whale oil?

    The north south railroad will never come to Humboldt eithe and everybody except Bill Bertain knows it. The little activity there is on that line seems focused on using public funds to repair the tracks far enough north to help Doug Bosco and his silent partners to haul out hard rock rip rap from sites they control (or have options on) in Mendocino County, Neither NCRA or NWPCO have any plans or pretensions to bring John Wooley or Bill Bertain a choo choo train.

    Nobody has any plans to start hauling, say, Humboldt-made laptops or Yakima racks via any railroad ever. And you don’t need rail cars to haul manicured bud.

    When it comes down to brass tacks, the only thing remotely profitable to haul on a railroad from here is gravel and hard rock. Which means making Humboldt a gravel colony to the developers in Sonoma County. Yet the hey day of Sonoma County development is just about played out. Even the monumentally corrupt Sonoma County Water Agency has just about run out of ways to supply water to development there.

    So who really — long term — is going to be a customer for Humboldt gravel? Especially when the folks in Red Bluff and points north and south already have access to plenty?

    And who really wants Humboldt County to be a gravel colony to development further south?

    Basically this is a death dance wet dream of the fading resource extraction elite.

  163. December 25, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    What are they going to ship on that east-west railroad?

    According to Barnum and Bertain’s presentation at the city council they will haul products from Asia. Humboldt Bay’s advantage is that it is a half day closer to Asian ports than Oakland and other west coast ports.

  164. December 25, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Bertain said Humboldt would provide a land bridge between ships from Asia and distribution points to the East.

  165. What Now
    December 26, 2011 at 1:36 am

    There you go.
    This is all about facilitating the flood of cheap shoddy and dangerous crap ENETRING the country. They’ll vene extend credit and foreclose at the first opportunity.
    WITH the connivance of some parasites whiffing a personal gain in it all.
    Snakes, snakeoil salesmen and quisling bastards all.

  166. December 26, 2011 at 7:16 am

    “What comes across plain and clear is that you are 100% sure that your own opinions and predictions are 100% accurate, and you think it’s obvious that everyone should agree with you, so you’re offended when anyone doesn’t.” Tra

    Tra, what I am struggling to accomplish is an honest approach to an environmental
    contract that has my name on it.
    At every turn I am blocked by meddling know-nothings and duplicitous parasites-
    you not the least of them.
    Let me lay it out plain for you. 100% Facts NOT opinions NOT predictions.
    NO town knowingly allows someone to harm their coastal forests.
    NO town allows behavior that advances erosion, especially on the Pacific coast..
    Loss of trees and erosion are non-compliant with:
    Local Coastal Plan
    Long Term-Management Plan
    The Coastal Act,
    The General Plan, the Neg. Dec to the EIR and state and federal laws.
    The Coastal Development Permits that control Manila’s work claimed compliance with each of the aforementioned.

    If you would care to see the results, when the Local Coastal Plan,
    The Long-Term Management Plan and the Coastal Act are ignored-
    please come to the Manila Overlook, that should explain everything,
    but if you are still feeling ‘cocky’ walk to the fore dunes and watch those unfold,
    of course keeping in mind the FEMA insured (but frigging unFEMA-mapped!) industrial water pipe just inside the
    along with a protected fresh-water marsh (unmapped).
    Think on that for a bit, Tra.

    If when advocating for the death of trees and the sponsor of erosion,
    you stay in your own damn neighborhood, at least that way,
    you might understand what it is you are talking about.

    May the new year bring 21st century science to our coastline.

  167. beel
    December 26, 2011 at 9:27 am

    let’s hope the Keystone XL advocates don’t get wind of a supply line that connects to an international port…

  168. Anonymous
    December 26, 2011 at 9:44 am

    I think it’s more fun to taunt and tease people like tra in cases like this. It’s a character MO, different from genuine trolls like hi finance. They dominate blogs. tra will fight to the death to be wrong if he has to, he’s in it to win..

  169. Mike Buettner
    December 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    “So if you’re a mine owner, you start looking for new markets. The obvious one is China, where the explosive growth in demand for electricity is overwhelming even its own large supply of coal. Coal exports to Asia from the Powder River Basin have begun to grow.

    Those exports can’t really take off, however, unless West Coast ports dramatically expand their deepwater loading capacity. That’s why, for instance, Arch Coal has teamed up with an Australian company to propose a new port development in Longview, Wash., that would help funnel 5 million tons of coal a year to Asia.”


  170. Harold Knight
    December 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Anonymous says:
    December 26, 2011 at 9:44 am

    “I think it’s more fun to taunt and tease people like tra in cases like this. It’s a character MO, different from genuine trolls like hi finance. They dominate blogs. tra will fight to the death to be wrong if he has to, he’s in it to win”.

    tra is blinded by ego, best to ignore him.

    He claimed he “offended” me, I explained I am angry….then, he concludes I’m, “not the best judge of whether (my) own anger is justified or not”.

    An ego of boundless proportion.

  171. Anonymous
    December 26, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    So are these people also asking for the public to pay for a report to find out if we can finally give up on the rail line to Willits? Or was that done already?

  172. Mike Buettner
    December 30, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    And we need this railroad to carry what? Not much:

    Panama Canal expansion ‘a threat’ to US west coast ports

    “Worst case, there could be a 25% diversion from Los Angeles-Long Beach,” said Paul Bingham, the group’s chief economist.

    “That’s upwards of three million containers – that’s a lot of dockworkers who don’t get work, truckers with less to haul and trains that don’t run.”


  173. 713
    December 30, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Which is it buettner, is there a market or not? if we can sell coal, why not ship it out of here?

  174. Anonymous
    December 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Nice avatar there, RobPushedMe! How much those bumper stickers set you back? Mighty effective too! (not).

  175. Mike Buettner
    December 30, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    You’re and idiot.

  176. Mike Buettner
    December 30, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    And I can’t type.

    We’re even.

  177. December 31, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Eureka will make an awesome Victorian coal town. Just imagine all those Victorians coated with a light dusting of black Powder River sugar. Just imagine mile long 100 car coal trains trundling through Old Town every day, or even several times a day. Just authentic as hell. Tourists will flock here.

    have a peaceful day,

  178. 713
    December 31, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I don’t imagine after traveling hundreds of miles via train at higher speeds there would be any dusting in eureka. I can imagine the jobs unloading 100 train cars a day would provide though. Maybe they could put our garbage on the return trains and save some money instead of trucking it out to Medford or wherever it goes.

  179. Smoking Dung
    December 31, 2011 at 11:04 am

    You don’t imagine? Who are you, Condoleeza Rice?

  180. 713
    December 31, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I don’t get the reference.

    i·mag·ine (-mjn)
    v. i·mag·ined, i·mag·in·ing, i·mag·ines
    1. To form a mental picture or image of.

    I was saying that after traveling hundreds of miles at a higher speeds, any dust from coal would be gone by the time it reached Eureka. Especially when you consider the train will be going slower to unload, so it would be hard for me to form a mental picture or image of “all those Victorians coated with a light dusting of black Powder River sugar.”

  181. Plain Jane
    December 31, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Wouldn’t new dust be created constantly by the coal being jostled around with the train’s movement?

  182. December 31, 2011 at 11:32 am

    The act of unloading thousands of tons of coal a week and loading it onto bulk cargo ships will put a plume of particulate coal into the air. That’s why Eureka’s Fantasy Port is so desirable. It is a place that because of low population, resistance to the transhipment of hazaradous materials can be more easily overcome.

    Things like coal, LP gas, bulk pesticides, nuclear waste, biohazard waste, industrial acids, miliatry munitions, and other toxic, flammable or explosive materials.

    But it is just a fantasy. Humboldt Bay has zero potential as a deepwater port. Even in the century between 1860 and 1960 when railroads were virtually the only realistic mode of frieght transport, no one saw the need for a rail line to Redding, because Redding is just as far from Nowhere as Eureka is, and Eureka will never be a port busy enough to support a railroad.

    have a peaceful day,

  183. 713
    December 31, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    In CA you are not allowed to have dust leave your property, so they would have to figure out how to contain the dust when they load and unload. It would certainly be a part of any environmental review. Maybe it’s not feasible. I guess that’s why they want to do a study.

  184. tra
    December 31, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Wait now, which is is? The port/rail scenario is “so desirable” for shipping hazardous materials, as you fear, or there’s “zero potential” and therefore no reason to worry at all?

  185. December 31, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    The port is desirable to certain interests who have the need to ship hazardous materials through ports with lower population densities. The port is undesirable to shippers who merely need an economic incentive because it is not suited geographically and physically to be a deepwater port. I am not conflicted, I am pointing out that there are two groups of people with two different agendas.

    It is the deepwater/port railhead that is the fantasy. If it ever happens it will just be a conduit for extremely hazardous materials and little else. To ship coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming to the west coast you either must go north of the Great Salt Lake or south of it. North leads to Boise and Seattle, south leads to Reno and Oakland. There is much more involved in than just connecting to Redding.

    have a peaceful day,

  186. tra
    December 31, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Highboldtage said: “That’s why Eureka’s Fantasy Port is so desirable. It is a place that because of low population, resistance to the transhipment of hazaradous materials can be more easily overcome. Things like coal, LP gas, bulk pesticides, nuclear waste, biohazard waste, industrial acids, miliatry munitions, and other toxic, flammable or explosive materials.”

    Is “resistance to transhipment” really a problem for those who are shipping coal, LP gas, pesiticides, hazardous waste and so on? With the exception of the high-level-nuke-waste-to-Yucca-Mountain (or somewhere) scenario, those kinds of shipping activities are already occuring every day — and as far as I’m aware, the shippers aren’t encountering a lot of “resistance” at the port/rail/trucking hubs that are already used for those purposes. So why would they switch to using Humboldt Bay?

  187. December 31, 2011 at 1:12 pm


    The Powder River Basin is northwest of Cheyenne Wyoming. You see where the rail net splits? That’s the Great Salt Lake.

    That’s one reason why Eureka will never be a deepwater port. Simple geography. It doesn’t matter if Eureka is a half day closer by ship to Asia, Eureka is a whole day farther by rail from anywhere, even if we did have a rail line.

    So when they tell you that Eureka will be a shipping point for Powder River coal, they are lying to you. They want some port infrastructure to ship hazardous materials, and they will try to seel it to you as economic development that will benefit the community, but it will never amount to a big deal in terms of international shipping.

    Except for nuke waste and hazardous chemicals. And munitions. Remeber the Port Chicago disaster in 1945?


    have a peaceful day,

  188. December 31, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    There are lots of communities that are struggling to ban or at least regulate the shipment of hazardous materials by rail and truck through their communites.

    The city government in D.C. tried to ban them and ended up in court. It is an ongoing legal and political battle.

    have a peaceful day,

  189. tra
    December 31, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Sorry, I hadn’t seen your 12:51 comment when I posted my 1:03. Your 12:51 clarified your position a bit for me.

    To me, the post-apocalyptic coal-and-hazardous-waste DeathPort scenario seems just as far-fetched as the proponents’ vision of a Humboldt Bay as a booming hub of international trade, linking the American heartland to the Pacific Rim.

  190. December 31, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Yes the Victorian coal town was satire. Sorry if you didn’t pick that up, my writing skills must be getting rusty. As I clearly believe that this Powder River coal story is complete bs therefore there will never be old Victorians with black sugar on them. I used the imagery to show how ridiculous it is.

    There is a certain group of people – lets call them the military industrial complex for the hell of it – who really would like a small port to ship their hazardous cargos through. After all when things go wrong it is inconvient to be in the middle of 10 million Angelenos or even a half a million Oaklanders. Much better to be in some outback place with a few thousand souls. These kinds of people will come up with lots of justifications to build a port but none of them are the truth.

    have a peaceful day,

  191. tra
    December 31, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Huh? At 11:32 am you said:

    “The act of unloading thousands of tons of coal a week and loading it onto bulk cargo ships will put a plume of particulate coal into the air. That’s why Eureka’s Fantasy Port is so desirable. It is a place that because of low population, resistance to the transhipment of hazaradous materials can be more easily overcome.”

    And then you included coal in the list of hazardous cargos that you said you were afraid that
    “they” would ship through Humboldt Bay for that reason.

    But then at 1:12, “they” are lying if “they” tell us that Powder River coal might be shipped through here:

    “So when they tell you that Eureka will be a shipping point for Powder River coal, they are lying to you.”

    So at 11:32, you’re painting a scenario of widespread coal-dust contamination as part of an overall DeathPort scenario, but a couple of hours later you’re warning us that any prediction that coal would be shipped out of here would be a lie.

  192. tra
    December 31, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Aww crap. I guess I should get into the habit of refreshing the page before posting a new comment, because again I hadn’t seen your 1:38 comment when I posted my 1:46 comment.

  193. tra
    December 31, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I just don’t see that public resistance to the shipment of most of these materials through existing routes is anywhere near the point where there would be much incentive to create a whole new route.

  194. Mike Buettner
    December 31, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    In Northwest Town, A Local Fight Against Global Coal
    October 26, 2011

    “Plans are afoot to build giant new coal terminals on the West Coast to ship this lucrative commodity to China. But activists want to stop this, in part because coal produces huge amounts of carbon dioxide when it’s burned. Federal climate policy is silent on this potentially large source of emissions, so the debate is happening at the local level.

    One fight is taking place over a proposed terminal near Bellingham, Wash. And if you want to get a sense of what the proposed coal terminal there would be like, visit Westshore Terminals just across the border in Vancouver, B.C.

    Trains a mile-and-a-half long rumble into this port, day and night, snaking through a large building. There, the trains roll onto a device that tips the coal cars over, two at a time, with the ease of a 5-year-old playing with a toy train.”


  195. Anonymous
    December 31, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    ohhhh coal…bad

  196. Mike Buettner
    December 31, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    08 DEC 2011: ANALYSIS
    As Coal Use Declines in U.S.,
    Coal Companies Focus on China

    “The Powder River Basin has sufficient coal to help light Chinese cities for years to come. The problem is getting it there. Existing ports in the northwestern United States cannot handle exporting such large quantities of coal, prompting the coal industry to propose building two new ports. Peabody has partnered with SSA Marine in hopes of building a new terminal near Bellingham, Wash. Arch Coal is working with an Australian company, Millennium Bulk Terminals, on a proposal to turn an old Reynolds Metal site into a coal terminal on the Columbia River at Longview, Wash., just downstream from Portland, Ore. The Longview proposal was put on hold this spring after leaked internal documents showed that the proponents planned on building a bigger terminal than they had applied for, but they say they will re-apply.”


  197. tra
    December 31, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    I assume that the Longview and Bellingham sites are already served by rail. I don’t see what the incentive would be for a whole new rail line here. As Highboldtage pointed out above, shipping the coal through Redding would already be quite a detour, before you even start heading through the mountains to Humboldt. I just don’t see where the relative advantage would be.

    I suppose if all the other facilities are full up, and the proposed new facilities like the ones in Longview, Bellingham, and elsewhere are defeated, or delayed long enough, perhaps there would be some pressure to take a look at a Redding – Humboldt Bay route.

    The Big Picture consequences of burning more coal, faster than ever, are definitely cause for concern, whether it’s burned here, or in China, or wherever. If we don’t get a lid on greenhouse gas emissions, coal dust could end up being the least of our problems.

    According to a report I read today, 2010 saw the largest annual increase in greenhouse gas emissions ever — a more than 6% increase in just one year. As a result, our global emissions are now worse than the worst-case scenario considered by climate scientists just four years ago.

  198. Mike Buettner
    December 31, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I agree with you tra. But from the perspective from the board room would be different. For an investment firm to be able to say they are actively pursuing a route for coal to China with the support of the locals would be a nice feather in the portfolio cap.

  199. Mike Buettner
    December 31, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    It’s the same speculation that brought Calpine here. They didn’t have the money (were actually going broke) to build a facility. But by stuffing their resume with some grand scheme they could attract investors. Even if it doesn’t pay off for the current project you have the investor in your speed dial.

  200. tra
    December 31, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    It must be the same boardroom where they cooked up the CalPine boodoggle. Somebody ought to check the oxygen levels in that room…maybe the air is a bit thin up there?

  201. tra
    December 31, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Re: CalPine — it looks like we had a similar thought at about the same moment. I posted my 7:57 comment before I saw your 7:51.

    “Even if it doesn’t pay off for the current project you have the investor in your speed dial.”

    Maybe so, but if the last project turned out to be a boondoggle, then when it comes time to try to float the next lead balloon, one would think the speed of dialing wouldn’t be as much of an issue as the skepticism of the person at the other end of the line.

    Still, investors do make some pretty stupid decisions sometimes, so…ya never know.

  202. Mike Buettner
    December 31, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    At the level we are talking about everything is a gamble. Having your name associated with some grand scheme is better than sitting on the sidelines. These are big time players and a positive outlook means money. I’m sure there are many projects afloat. It took the most basic search to find those I linked to in the articles above.

    I’m not paranoid. But it pays to be aware.

  203. December 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Railroad mothballing Powder River Basin extension

    Posted: Dec 04, 2012 11:36 AM PST Updated: Dec 04, 2012 11:36 AM PST


    Divers will search for missing Consol miner Saturday morning

    NY gas driller Norse Energy files for Chapter 11

    New MarkWest natural gas processing online in Doddridge Co.

    Married to coal: Markets driving cultural change for some WV families

    Two dive plans in place for recovery of missing Consol miner


    AMBER HUNT, Associated Press

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Weakening demand for coal has prompted Canadian Pacific Railway Co. to mothball plans to extend its Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad network into the Powder River Basin to ship Wyoming coal to power plants in other states, the company announced Monday.

    The “indefinite deferral” is an apparent death knell for long-standing plans for a third railway to compete in the coal-rich basin, which CP officials had once called an exciting prospect for an “efficient and competitive additional link to Midwestern and eastern utilities.”

    “CP took a careful look into the long-term prospects of the (Powder River Basin) for our railroad and, when considering the outlook of domestic thermal coal, we made what we feel is the prudent business decision” by axing the plans, CP spokesman Ed Greenberg told The Associated Press.


  204. April 10, 2013 at 7:03 am

    “I already did this “study” for you… I will repeat it (again) for free.

    There is this geographic feature of the North American continent called the “Great Salt Lake” which is approximately 600 miles due east of Eureka. All east-west transcontinental rail traffic must split east of the Great Salt Lake, and the northern route proceeds to Boise and then Seattle, while the southern route goes to Reno and then Oakland. The truth is that Redding is just as far from markets as Eureka is. So even if it is true that Eureka is a half day’s sea travel closer to Asia, it is at least a day farther from markets by rail. A half day or more would actually be lost by using the Port of Eureka, even supposing that a rail car could make it from Eureka to Redding to Oakland in one day. Most likely it will be two or three days.

    There is nothing that we can do about this. So there you go, by accident of geography Eureka will never be a competitive deepwater West Coast port. … Then there are other issues. Could the railway to Redding actually be built? Yes, if you want to spend enough money. …You might be able to lay a new rail line across flat prairie or desert for $5 million a mile but not through those mountains. A half dozen tunnels and a half dozen bridges will cost $500 million all on their own.

    This project, technically feasible will cost anywhere from $3 to $5 billion, minimum. The line would have to be heavily taxpayer subsidized or it could not exist and it will never be profitable, because of the geographical facts above.

    If in some fantasy world this line was actually completed what would it haul? Although no Asian shipper of manufactured goods would use the port (because of the geographical facts above) shippers of dangerous, explosive or hazardous materials would like to have a lightly populated port to ship through. So we would get the nuclear waste, the caustic industrial chemicals and industrial acids, petroleum distillates, and military munitions. That’s your upside…

    There’s your study.”


  205. HUUFC
    April 10, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Here hear, spot on. At the Logging show I was engaged with a East rail supporter that refused to speculate what the railroad would haul. Over and over I asked for his opinion, “what will it haul” the response always came back to “we will see in the study”. As he got more upset we parted ways.
    Well don’t waste money on the study.
    The Panama Canal locks are being duplicated with bigger more water conserving ones that will take larger ships direct to East Coast ports. Just two weeks ago Obama was at the Port of Miami bragging about how federal/private money was improving the port for access by the larger ships. Other East coast ports are doing the same upgrades. West coast ports are going to decline in ship traffic and the the railroads that carried the containers of Chinese goods to New York will see the same reduction in freight.
    Humboldt Bay will continue to be a relic of the lumber schooner heyday before roads and railroads phased them out.
    Sorry that’s just the way it is.

  206. Just sayin...
    April 10, 2013 at 10:20 am

    This is the second time Highboldtage has necro’d this thread. On a lot of forums, that’s punishable by a ban.

  207. eurekaworker
    April 10, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Simple why Bill “necro’d” this thread. With this blog dying, the only “active” threads are the Fair Wage and Quick notes threads. Both are so long, they take forever to load and people don’t wait around. Look for him to continue reviving short threads to promote dope use and the minimum wage increase.

  208. April 10, 2013 at 10:31 am


    Its in the right thread and there just happens to be more bullshit being spread today at the courthouse…..by the LandBridge alliance? So my post is timely too.

  209. April 10, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Well there you go, HUUFC bashes me on one thread for being a “doper” but on another he agrees with me on Tyson’s Folly, the eastwest rail fantasy. At least HUUFC is local, he has been around for a few years. But it just goes to show we don’t all agree or disagree on everything all the time.

    have a peaceful day,

  210. I Liek Trainz
    April 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I Heard U Liek Trainz?

  211. HUUFC
    April 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Hey, it’s a free country. Sort of.

  212. April 11, 2013 at 8:05 am





    Seattle Port Trucker Strike Rally!Public Event · By Seattle Solidarity.

    Monday, February 13, 2012.9:00am until 12:00pm.. E. Marginal Way and Hanford, under the viaduct

    Over the last two weeks non-unionized short-haul truckers at the port have refused to work until they receive better treatment. For months they’ve been trying to build an association to fight back. These mostly immigrant workers face horrendous conditions on the ports – e…xtremely low pay, harassment from law enforcement and trucking companies, exorbitant fees charged by the companies that more than once have resulted in “negative” paychecks for the drivers.

    Because of this they’ve stopped work, first at just one company, but it has since spread to many companies, slowing all traffic at the port. They’ve asked us to support them at a strike rally they’ll hold on Monday. We’ll be there with banners and flyers. Their situation is desperate, and it’s extremely important we show solidarity, we’re there to say “We support the Seattle truck drivers and their association.”

    Depending on how their actions go there may be future ways we can help out. People from Occupy have also organized a food drive for the truckers – who aren’t making any money while they’re out. Please feel free to bring some donations of non-perishable food, diapers, baby wipes and etc – for the striking truckers and their families



    “SEATTLE — Hundreds of truck drivers at the Port of Seattle have walked off the job and lawmakers are deciding if they need to take action.”


    “Drivers at several trucking companies that haul containers between the port and intermodal rail yards are refusing loads because they charge the companies they contract with are paying them less than the market rate in the harbor area.

    Harbor trucking companies normally negotiate a drayage rate with shipping lines or cargo interests. The general practice is for the trucking company to keep a percentage of the rate and then pass the rest on to the drivers. In this instance, drivers say some motor carriers are retaining a higher percentage of the drayage rate than is customary in Puget Sound.”


    “As many as 30 or 40 percent of the short-haul truckers who normally move containers from docks to railcar terminals at the Port of Seattle have stopped working.

    The work stoppage comes after one of the drivers was retaliated against for attending a hearing in Olympia last week on a proposal to improve their working conditions.

    They’re independent contractors, who are predominantly immigrants, and say the conditions they’re forced to contend with make the job unsafe.

    Community groups are now rallying in their support.”


    “Waterfront truckers are typically classified as “independent contractors” and paid $40 to $44 per load. After spending money to insure and maintain their aging trucks, drivers average around $30,000 a year net income. They are not allowed to use restrooms at the port gates, and say they are sometimes called the N-word or animals.

    “It looks like Alabama — this is in Seattle, West Seattle!” said Aynalem Moba, a leader in the new Seattle Port Truckers Association.”


    Driven by a broken economic system, port truck drivers in Seattle and Tacoma are robbed of basic protections afforded other types of workers in the United States and paid as little as $10 or $11 an hour. Low-wage port truck drivers are forced to carry the entire cost of owning and maintaining their own trucks and are often only able to afford to oldest and dirtiest trucks available. As a result, communities located near ports or along major truck routes are saturated by toxic, deadly diesel pollution.

    The Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports is a local and national alliance of environmental activists, truck drivers, faith leaders, labor unions and community advocates fighting for environmental and economic justice at our nation’s ports.


    The Ports of Seattle and Tacoma sit 25 miles apart on Puget Sound. Together, they form the third largest container load center in North America, trailing only the Port of New York and New Jersey and the adjacent Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.1

    • The total value of the Portʼs maritime imports and exports annually exceeds $56 billion dollars.

    • 70% of the goods arriving in Puget Sound ultimately end up in the Midwest; Puget Sound ports
    principally serve as a transit point for goods moving from East Asia to Midwestern retailers.

    • The Portsʼ principle imports are toys, cars, sports equipment, clothing and electronics.

    • In 2009, the Ports moved roughly 1,700,000 containers.
    The vast majority of cargo handled at the Ports is moved between the region’s marine terminals, warehouses and rail yards by diesel trucks. Port officials counted 3,259 of these trucks serving the Port of Tacoma in 2010 and 1,416 serving one of Seattle’s four terminals in 2008.5 6 After discounting for infrequent visitors and drivers that visit both ports, the Port of Tacoma and Seattle terminals are routinely served by an estimated 2,000-2,500 drivers.

    • The most recent study of port drivers in Puget Sound was conducted in 2006, just before the
    economic downturn. Even so, the survey found that the median income of drivers working at the Port
    of Seattle was $28,500 per year.

    • More than half reported working longer than the legal limit of 11 hours per day. The typical driver is married, in his forties, and has children. The misclassification of port truck drivers has allowed industry to shift the responsibility of the truck purchase and maintenance over to individual workers. These low-wage earners have purchased the only vehicles they can afford: old, dilapidated rigs. Unable to afford proper maintenance, these vehicles become more polluting and unsafe with every passing year.

    • An estimated 95% of the nationʼs 110,000 port trucks fail to meet current U.S. EPA emission
    standards, increasing diesel pollution by one thousand percent.

    • In the immediate port-adjacent neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown, the EPA has found
    that cancer risk is 27 times higher than the national average.10 Dioxin from diesel burning trucks is reported to be one of the principle culprits.

    • Similarly, the concentration of fine particulate matter – one of the principle pollutes emitted by diesel trucks – in Georgetown appears to be the highest in the region. Because of the high concentrations of particulates, residents are at elevated risk for asthma, cancer, heart disease, and other life threatening diseases.


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