Home > Eureka City Council > Choo-Choo! Eureka City Council believes in fairies

Choo-Choo! Eureka City Council believes in fairies

Or magical trains, rather.  The Council will vote Tuesday to support a feasibility study on the idea of a rail line going east from Humboldt Bay to Red Bluff.

The Lost Coast Outpost notes:

So the City Council will now spend a couple of tens of thousands of dollars to determine just how many billions some unknown government entity will have to cough up to build 125 miles of brand-new railroad line into li’l old Humboldt County. A source in the know claims that, perversely, this is whole issue gonna be a centerpiece of the Eureka right wing’s campaign for the open city council seats this year.

Which leads one to wonder — is the Phantom Train to the South that has been the target of the Humboldt County cargo cult simply too tainted by its association with Dan Hauser and Wes Chesbro and other rail-mad Arcata lefties? Does the right need its own Phantom Train? One that points, uh — rightward?

Lost Coast Outpost: And Now We See How Crazy the Eureka City Council Wants to Make It

Earlier: Railroadies revive East-West line idea

  1. Wascally Wabbit
    January 14, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Since the average IQ of the Eureka City Council actually went UP by 10 or 15 points upon the replacement of Leonard and Jones we can’t blame this on stupidity. Even the Brady Bunch is not dumb enough to believe in this so they must just be following orders.

    Lets chalk this one up on grounds of simple corruption, and wait to see which connected consultant firm gets the taxpayers love money.

    IN YOUR FACE CORRUPTION. On and on and on….. When will you all have had enough?

  2. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Is it crazier to imagine opening the line south and fighting the terrain and washouts for a longer stretch or to create a new line east? I think most of us would drool at the prospect of a train connecting us to Amtrak, and for shipping, but it’s hard to imagine it could really be economically feasible in this part of the state. Also, whose ranches are we going over? You know there is going to be an eminent domain fight.

  3. January 14, 2012 at 7:55 am

    I don’t have a problem with the idea of a rail line to the East. Problem is, what would it haul? I can’t think of any cargo that would be significant enough to make it worthwhile.

    And, no, passengers won’t cut it. Greyhound even gave up on passengers out of here.

  4. Decline To State
    January 14, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Is the council seriously suggesting we spend staff time and our hard-to-come-by revenues on this sort of craziness? Once again we seem to be being manipulated for some hidden agenda the Eureka City Council has.

    Who stands to benefit by this?

  5. January 14, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Fred, as stated at their presentation to the city council, the train would haul imports from Asia.

    See, the benefit we have is Humboldt Bay is half a day closer to Asia than the Port of Oakland, they said. Humboldt would be a “land bridge” between Asian sweat shops and big boxes to the east.

  6. January 14, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Well, you’re talking about bringing industry to the port, which I’m sure many here would oppose.

    And I would think the time it takes to unload and ship the stuff via rail would at least take up any time supposedly saved.

    I’m not opposed to either industry in the port or a rail line. I just don’t think it will happen. After all, this is California.

  7. Bolithio
    January 14, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Perhaps a train line would allow for us to move our nuclear waste safely?

  8. 713
    January 14, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Fred I don’t think it would take any longer to here than Oakland. How much is a barge per day? If it is $30,000 like I have heard, saving $15,000 per shipment might be pretty attractive to shippers.

  9. January 14, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I already did this “study” for you a few weeks ago in the previous thread on this silliness. I did it for free.

    I will repeat it 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. That part is fantasy.

    Then there are other issues. Could the railway to Redding actually be built? Yes, if you want to spend enough money. We have the tech to drill a tunnel all the way to Redding. Think a couple hundred billion dollars will do it. Barnum says that $500 million will be enough to lay a rail line for 100 miles through very rugged mountainous terrain. He is dreaming. You might be able to lay a new rail line accross flat prairie or desert for $5,000,000 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 munition. That’s your upside. If you are the military-industrial complex.

    There’s your study.

    have a peaceful day,

  10. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 8:59 am

    How ironic that economic collapse is the only condition that thwarts the kind of capital venture responsible for our degraded ecology. I hear my countryside breathing a brief sigh of relief.

  11. Anon 2
    January 14, 2012 at 9:07 am

    It likely would be less to go to Red Bluff than to try to restore the Eel River slide area, rebuild all the tunnels, and rebuild all the bridges along with legal costs for lawsuits over the Eel River canyon. Likely there would be no tunnels and not many bridges to get to Red Bluff.

    There could be distribution centers here that unpack containers and repack them which is necessary for clothing as one type of clothing is shipped in one container and another in another one requiring the repacking for final shipment to its destination. This is also one reason the Marine Highway is being supported which is an unload and reload. Some goods don’t have to be at their final destination in a day or two and that is why shippers look for ports that are either closer or less busy than Oakland as Oakland increases costs by more fuel and more waiting time to be unloaded. Read some of the shipping magazines about what various ports are doing and new ports that have been built.

  12. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Boooo! Eureka shouldn’t be embracing green technology!

  13. January 14, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Railroads are “green” technology? Is that the way you want to spin this now?

    It is true that over flat ground a train can haul more weight per gallon of diesel than trucks can.

    I will support building your green railroad if you will support ripping up all the highways coming through here.

    There’s your “green.”

    have a peaceful day,

  14. jr
    January 14, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I wondered why Red Bluff was the eastern terminus instead of Redding, then I read the post from Heraldo stating that “the train would haul imports from Asia.” Remembering that Wal-Mart has a distribution center just south of Red Bluff, can we conclude that Wal-Mart is behind this project? (This proposal is basically a re-do of a similar proposal from about 1989 when a consortium of County Economic Development agencies and Chambers of Commerce proposed such a railroad.)

  15. Plain Jane
    January 14, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Would beef ranchers benefit from rail transportation to I5?

  16. pitchfork
    January 14, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Bill’s post are right, except Humboldt Bay is not a natural deep water port, it’s a breached lagoon.

  17. January 14, 2012 at 9:42 am

    First, we use the train to haul all of the anti-job no-growthers out of here. Then we haul the water to the valley. Finally, we ship the landscape to China on barges.

  18. humboldturtle
    January 14, 2012 at 10:02 am


  19. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I notice no one is talking about the return freight. Joel?

  20. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 10:11 am

    the return freight would need to be a commodity scarce in the northcoast. Republicans perhaps?

  21. January 14, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Republicans are scarce around here?

  22. 713
    January 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I would think all shippers would benefit by getting to I-5.

  23. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Railroads are “green” technology? Is that the way you want to spin this now?

    Yes, railroads are green technology. For an example, look at the rest of the industrialized world.

  24. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 10:35 am

    A new era of money surrounds us. The rich have been getting richer and the poor more desperate for so long now, anything’s feasible. American investors are helping build cities twice the size of new york on credit over in china and the middle east, as in all at once with zero tenants. The ability to build entire cities on credit, is how much money the wealthiest people in the world have. You can bet they are looking at the virgin territory of the northern california coast closely. We owe it to this territory and we, it’s permanent inhabitants, to stave unecessary “investments” in our “community” by way of more infrastructure. It’s very bad for the land, tourism, and general comfort of living. Our quality of life diminishes the more we rely on outsourcing…locally just the same as nationally. The only people who gain are sitting behind big desks in one of their many offices, watching their stock portfolios skyrocket while everybody else takes a serious beating…as usual.

  25. kirk
    January 14, 2012 at 10:37 am

    let’s keep this in mind as well, while we think we need a new railroad to take Oakland’s overflow…


  26. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 10:42 am

    “First, we use the train to haul all of the anti-job no-growthers out of here. Then we haul the water to the valley. Finally, we ship the landscape to China on barges.”

    You should resist some of your comments for comics, this would be a good’un. Everybody in humboldt left standing on a carpet of plastic garbage in enourmous big box parking lots, filling out job applications.

  27. January 14, 2012 at 10:48 am

    The rest of the industrial world may be building railroads or not.

    The point is that building a railroad that is unneccessary and that will be underutilized is simply overconsumption – waste – it is in no way green. Wasting resources is not green.

    It’s like buying twice as many crabcakes as you can eat.


    have a peaceful day,

  28. lisa
    January 14, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Breached lagoon? What difference does that make?

    “The first known discovery of the bay by Europeans—it was quite familiar to its Wiyot inhabitants—occurred in 1806 when Jonathan Winship in command of the O’Cain, a Boston ship hired out to the Russian government, arrived on the Redwood Coast to hunt sea otters.

    One of the O’Cain’s boats entered and explored the bay, which was named the “Bay of Rezanov” after their sponsor. He described Humboldt Bay as of considerable size and somewhat resembling the Bay of San Francisco,”

  29. diane
    January 14, 2012 at 11:01 am

    You people do know that things will continue on, development will happen, and in the future things will be different, right?

    This head in the sand view ( shell wind, rail service, richardson grove) is mind boggling to me. Humans build and develop. We change our world to suit us, just like ants and beavers. I think rail to the valley is a great idea and I predict that it will happen. It sure makes a lot more sense than the eel river canyon.

    Fortunately most of them will be dead in the future and then the rest of the people ( the ones with vision…VISION!!!) will continue to make things easier for humans here on the far north coast.

  30. January 14, 2012 at 11:04 am

    “He described Humboldt Bay as of considerable size and somewhat resembling the Bay of San Francisco”

    O’Cain, apparently, never bothered to check depth.

  31. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 11:06 am

    The rest of the industrial world may be building railroads or not.

    No, there’s no doubt on the issue. The rest of the industrialized world is building trains like crazy because they efficiently move people.

    Trying to say there isn’t demand is absurd because Humboldt is almost walled-off from the rest of California. You don’t know what’s possible because our circumstances are upside down to begin with.

  32. back in the saddle
    January 14, 2012 at 11:15 am

    The bay is deep enough to be a shipping port. Give that argument up. The shippers, the guys with the big boats, determine which port to use based on turn around times. The railroad cars are actually used as warehouses for many business – rfemember “just in time” shipping? This actually makes sense for business, but not for NYMBYs. The idea of not changing anything here is a poor choice. Nothing stays stagnant, places change for the better or the worse. Nice that you like the scenery. This is not going to change that. Go light up another joint and relax, it is not going to happen anytime soon.

  33. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 11:29 am

    now waitaminute, isn’t this the same plot as “Hell on Wheels” part one?

  34. January 14, 2012 at 11:59 am

    O’Cain, apparently, never bothered to check depth.

    I read somewhere- don’t know if it was the first ship into the bay but one of the earliest ones- they measured the average channel depth at 16 feet.

  35. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    We’ve been so foolish. We should be building diving boards on the bay and employing life guards for our very nice salt water swimming pool.

  36. Mike Buettner
    January 14, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Kirk has it right. Long Beach and Oakland are looking at losing business because of the changes being made to the Panama Canal. East coast ports are ramping up to take what the west coast will lose. So why would there be a need for this port?

    Nuke train to Yucca Mountain. Laugh now but the push for this RR is coming from bigger people than Bertain and Barnum.

  37. January 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    “The rest of the industrialized world is building trains like crazy…”

    Mission accomplished (a hundred ago), but trains go from one large population to another, not out to every far-flung hamlet.

    And Back-in-the-saddle seems to be confused about how just-in-time shipping works.

  38. January 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    “a hundred years ago”

  39. anon
    January 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    When you think about it this is totally in keeping with the mentality of the city council, the city manager, and their puppetmasters and minions. In their minds it’s still the the wild west and them good ol boys got the biggest guns.

  40. 713
    January 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    “but trains go from one large population to another, not out to every far-flung hamlet.”

    you should travel a little bit.

  41. Mike Buettner
    January 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    New terminal could mean more competition for West Coast ports

    “A Danish shipping terminal operating company has won the right to build a new deepwater container terminal at the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas.

    That new $900 million facility on Mexico’s Pacific coast will bring new competition to American West Coast ports for business feeding imported goods to the Midwest and South.”


  42. January 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    1106, trains move people more efficiently?

    What does that have to do with a rail freight line from a fantasy port of Eureka to a non-destination like Red Bluff or Redding? Barnum is not planning passenger service.

    Now if you want to build an electrified trolley systems in Eureka and Arcata, I will support a feasibility study for taht.

    have a peaceful day,

  43. January 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    “you should travel a little bit.”

    I’m sure that I could get out more, I’ve only been to a dozen or so countries, but where do they invest in railroads over a mountain range to serve a population of our size?

  44. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Zermatt. But we would have to work on our tourism, not having the Matterhorn nearby. We do have an incredibly beautiful county though.

  45. January 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Sounds like more of our Measure O money up in smoke. The Eureka CC has used that money for everything, even a few bucks (damn few) for public safety (someone had to pay the overtime to roust the Occupiers). Remember the promises next time. Sadly too many of us believed the hype. The current council is dead set on loading in every money eating program it can find with no thought to what happens when the Measure O sunset hits.
    Instead of fantasy railroads to the east, the city should be gung-ho on Short Sea Shipping. It’s cost
    effective, would lower shipping costs, and could be ready with minimal investment in a very short time. Maybe barges aren’t as sexy as trains. Who knows?

  46. January 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Unbelievable. Except that it’s not. Who’s the outside wheeler-dealer that the locals are fronting for? Because otherwise it makes no sense in any rational world. Oops, forgot, it’s Eureka.

  47. back in the saddle
    January 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Joel – find out how shipping actually works. We are all ignorant, just in different subjects Shipping is not your specialty.

  48. Mike Buettner
    January 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Not sure about outside but inside it is Rob Arkley. He’s the one trying to peddle his Bay property on Samoa.

  49. 713
    January 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Joel, all over Europe you can get from one small town to the other, or to any major metropolitan area via train. Surely you noticed that in your extensive travels.

    They are building a high speed rail network in the united states, if you haven’t heard. I believe at some point they are going from sacramento to Portland or Seattle. It would be nice to see if we could get to redding or wherever to catch a train to San Fran or seattle. It’s about 3 x more efficient than a plane.

  50. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    731, certainly you have noticed that there are no small towns in Europe as isolated by distance or geology as Eureka.

  51. January 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    The California High Speed Rail Commission had a tumultuous week as the two individuals most responsible for building a $100 billion bullet train in California quit their posts.

    CEO Roelof van Ark stepped down claiming he wanted to spend more time with his family, and Chairman Thomas Umberg said he no longer wants his position.

    The new year will be busy for the state’s high speed rail authority, which is moving to the Department of Transportation, about to complete its business plan and are anticipating to start construction by the end of 2012.

    “All of those things really require a full-time chair,” Umberg said. “I thought it bet that it have full-time leadership. I can’t provide that full-time leadership.”

    Dan Richard will take over the reins from Umberg who said the project is headed in the right direction, citing state and federal support of the bullet train, and $6 billion to begin construction.

    But Umberg’s opinion of the project differs greatly from that of a peer review commission, which advised the state legislature not to issue bonds for the first segment of project to be built in the San Joaquin Valley.

    The commission criticized the $100 billion project as financially unfeasible.

    Photos and Videos


    Bullet Train Troubles
    Bullet Train Troubles More Multimedia

  52. January 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Again, 713, why are you trying to confuse us with talk about passenger rail? Is Barnam’s feasibility study about the feasibilty of passenger rail from Eureka to Red Bluff? If it is that will be an even easier study to complete. I will do it for free as well.

    have a peaceful day,

  53. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I think tourism is as valuable to us as products and we need to consider passenger rail as part of this.

    4:35 There are many, many isolated towns in Europe that are served by trains. They don’t stop there every time.

  54. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    4:54, there are no towns in Europe that are a five hour highway drive from a major city. Maybe you forget just how small and how densely populated Europe is. In any case, we are not Europe in oh so many ways. Don’t expect U.S. to take on European transportation policy any time soon.

  55. January 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    You think that folks will get on a train in Portland and then detrain in Red Bluff and then wait for the Eureka Pacific to take them west? Tourists? When is the last time you rode AMTRAK?

    Someone had the idea of a feasibility study for a UFO spaceport. The UFO idea is actually more realistic.

    have a peaceful day,

  56. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Haven’t ridden Amtrak for about 4 years. Have ridden trains all over Europe and it is amazing where they go. Of course, they have been there for so long, they already have the tracks in place.

    There are certainly towns in Europe that are a five hour drive from a large city. Maybe the key is how large the city is. You mean like Eureka vs Portland?

  57. January 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I like trains, I have ridden on AMTRAK a bunch.

    It is just that tourists come from big cities because that is where the mass of people are. Most tourists don’t ride trains anymore not in the US. They fly or drive.

    Younger more adventurours (and poorer) people ride AMTRAK because if it is going where you want to go it can be cheaper and more enjoyable than a Greyhound. All those young trimmers (working people) that you despise who come here every fall – now they will ride the Eureka Pacific- they will think it is way cool.

    have a peaceful day,

  58. jr
    January 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    The more I think of this proposal the more I believe that it may have potential for (1) economic development, (2) tourism development, and (3) a transportation option that will serve the vast interior region of Humboldt, Trinity and Shasta counties. So I say let the studies begin because until these studies are done no one knows for sure if this railroad will fly (to mix a metaphor).

  59. 713
    January 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I lived in europe for a few years. There’s lots of places that are isolated like eureka. Maybe not five hours drive, but certainly 150 miles from another population hub like redding. Your tour bus didn’t take you there, but they exist.

  60. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Why don’t you guys read the studies done for the north-south route. There are many. Tell us what they say and why we should give up on that route. They all say it is doable. If you don’t believe those studies then why will you believe the studies that look at a different direction?

  61. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    713, Redding itself is a small isolated city by European standards. Please feel free to show us a 150 mile rail line in Europe that services a population of about 150,000 people over mountainous terrain that already has a highway. Again, we are not Europe. I don’t think Humboldt County is going to be the first place in the U.S. to overcome that.

  62. jr
    January 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    The main reason why an a railroad to Red Bluff (or Redding) may be more viable is that it ties into a major railroad network (Union Pacific). The Eel River route connects with other lines by way of Shelville (near Sonoma), but that is still a long way from the major U.P. lines. Plus this proposed line opens up the “back country” for hikers who would use the line to get to trailheads. Humboldt and Trinity counties would have the equivalent of Mendocino’s Skunk Train.

  63. 713
    January 14, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    I could give you an example in the u.s…..eureka had a railroad that ran for 100 years.

  64. January 14, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    jr, you missed the part where I told you that Red Bluff is as far from nowhere as Eureka is.

    Think about it. Drive your train from Eureka to Red Bluff. Connect with the national rail network.

    OK now where are you going to go? You are going to go to Oakland! So you have driven your train 100 miles and you still have 300 to go….to get to Oakland.

    have a peaceful day,

  65. January 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    The Northwestern Pacific was the most expensive stretch of track to maintain in the United States. That’s why the Southern Pacific shut it down. What is different now? That’s your hundred years. That’s history. Along with earthquakes, landslides and floods.

    Railroads are fine but they are not for all terrain.

    have a peaceful day,

  66. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Mouse at 249pm says:

    ” more of our Measure O money up in smoke. The Eureka CC has used that money for everything, even a few bucks (damn few) for public safety”

    That is a patently false statement. Take a look at the spending plan for measure O that was approved by the City Council last summer. You are full of shit.

  67. 713
    January 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    what about roseville?

  68. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Roseville is not a destination.

  69. jr
    January 14, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Bill: I agree that Red Bluff (and Redding) is “as far from nowhere as Eureka.” However, It is only three, maybe four for a train, hours away from a main line. (If the Eel River route was re-opened, four hours would barely get you to Willits and that is still four hours away from a main line.) Red Bluff and Redding are being looked at as the eastern terminus simply because of the existing infrastructure that will make connecting with it easier. Red Bluff is not the destination, it is a connecting point.

  70. January 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Yes, jr, but why would a shipper choose a route that takes his freight an extra 300 – 400 miles (and a day or two longer) than if he simply used the Port of Oakland? That is the point.

    Any freight that leaves Eureka in any direction will have to go through Oakland or Seattle. It is a geographic fact that can’t be avoided. That is how the national rail network is designed.

    have a peaceful day,

  71. jr
    January 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    That is a powerful argument for not building the railroad. The only way that is would be financially feasible is if Humboldt Bay was developed–and marketed–as an alternative port to Oakland (closer to Asia, less expensive docking fees, quicker turnaround time, etc). Then the railroad would make more sense.

    As to topography, can the route be any more challenging than the routes through the Rockies or over Donner Summit?

  72. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Don’t forget Coos Bay, Greys Harbor and all the other ports that already have rail connections, are closer to Asia and have room to grow. If there was a real need there would be investors doing this study already.

  73. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    “Then the railroad would make more sense.”

    why doesn’t “just for fun” make enough sense? I think this is all fueled by wealthier types waxing ambitious after watching atlas shrugged on the dee vee dee.

  74. jr
    January 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    More powerful arguments against a railroad to the east. I’m just trying to justify being able to ride in an open vestibule along south fork ridge to Peanut after a nice dinner in the dining car. Ono, I’m going to Igo!

  75. back in the saddle
    January 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Just to set the record straight – the most expensive RR in the USA is actually in Alaska.

  76. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    “As to topography, can the route be any more challenging than the routes through the Rockies or over Donner Summit?”

    Yes it can. However, you still need enough stuff to make it worth it. If it was worth it to go east, then is it probably worth it to go south.

    Remember the same people that are saying go east are the same ones that still maintain that the south is still cheaper than all you naysayers claim.

    What a waste of time.

  77. mresquan
    January 14, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Given that this council can’t even help deliver the Marina Center,one would be foolish to think they could provide anything to enhance the need for rail service.This is cronyism at its finest here.Bill B.,you want this to go forward,pony up some cash and get to work.

  78. Mr Bootstraps
    January 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I’m buying land in Hyampom, next to what I think will be the new depot. And on the Eureka waterfront. And in Red Bluff and Platina. Especially in Hayfork, so I can build my chain of railroad themed restaurants. Jobs, jobs, jobs!!!! I just want the eureka city council to pay for me to study the feasibility of the idea.

  79. January 14, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    “…can the route be any more challenging than the routes through the Rockies …?”

    We’re not talking here about connecting several large western states with the midwest, we’re talking about connecting a small rural, coastal city with the Central Valley.

  80. walt
    January 15, 2012 at 7:04 am

    The last time rails were laid through the mountains it was done by gentlemen from the Celestial Kingdom. Now there are lots more of them, and we’ve already given them most of the blue collar jobs from this country. . . so we can bring them HERE and give them MORE jobs! Can you say “Ni hao ma?” yet?

  81. Decline To State
    January 15, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Perhaps I’ve just missed it in all the back and forth here but are there plans for a back-haul from Red Bluff to Eureka? Even if we could generate enough freight to make the line viable hauling from the local area and the port (doubtful in my mind) what exactly would we be bringing back to Humboldt? I can’t imagine a hauler of any sort traveling to and from our remote area without having it be profitable traveling in both directions. Rail cars dead-heading it back to the coast would not be a realistic business option.

  82. William Verick
    January 15, 2012 at 7:22 am

    For anyone wondering how this works, I suggest taking a look at the NCRA file at the Regional Water Board office in Santa Rosa. One of the things you will see are decades worth of business feasibility studies, all nicely bound and printed in multiple colors. These studies look into all the myriad ways a railroad south could be made to pay. They look at the feasibility of an excursion railroad around Humboldt Bay. They look at a tourist railroad down to South Fork. They look at a railroad to Scotia for the purposes of log exports.

    These studies were not cheap and none of them was ever acted upon. At their most innocent, they were public dollars spent on trying to provide rationale and “intellectual firepower” to cockamamie.ideas held by people of influence in the Humboldt Bay Area. They also provided a way for advocates of building a south-of-the-Eel-River-Canyon-only gravel and hard rock railroad — people like Doug Bosco — to keep the North Coast folks politically on board by continuing to feed their fantasies. People like Bill Bertain and John Wooley being their useful idiots.

    But at a more fundamentally corrupt level, these “studies” were just money that had accumulated being handed out to make work for favored consulting companies. They may have been favors to politicians or lobbyists that have connections to the consultants. They may have been a way to keep the party going at public expense for a favored segment of the community. Or all of the above.

    The one thing the studies were not was a serious attempt to actually get the railroad running.

    I first heard about a railroad to Red Bluff about five years ago from an engineer working for Geomatrix. At the time we just rolled our eyes at the mention. Even the engineer from Laco laughed at that one.

    Now here we have it. The Eureka City Council is going to hand out money for a study of something even more preposterous than rebuilding the railroad through the Eel River Canyon. My guess this is just a bit of muscle flexing being done by the conservatives who control Eureka. They are showing that they have to power to do transparently stupid things and that they are fully confident that nobody can do anything about it.

    They’re probably right.

  83. Anonymous
    January 15, 2012 at 8:26 am

    It’s an exercise to have something in print making the project proved to be unfeasible. Proof so that it can end here. A truly valuable study would be able to anticipate the popularity (or the opposite) of this sort of shipping or travel. Speaking only of people moving, I know that many of the folks who will not ride the bus and choose to drive would love to take the train.

  84. Anonymous
    January 15, 2012 at 8:37 am

    But you “progressive” types are all in favor of Barry and Moonbeams high speed rail? is a good idea!?

  85. January 15, 2012 at 8:43 am

    High speed rail is passenger rail. The Fantasy Pacific is a freight line.

    In case you haven’t noticed there is a difference.

    High speed rail may be a fantasy all on its own but that is not what the Eureka City council voted on. There is nothing in their whereas at all about passenger rail.

    have a peaceful day,

  86. Anonymous
    January 15, 2012 at 8:47 am

    “I know that many of the folks who will not ride the bus and choose to drive would love to take the train.”

    “many” folks in Humboldt County is not really very many passengers by train standards.

  87. January 15, 2012 at 9:13 am

    7:22 “People like Bill Bertain and John Wooley being their useful idiots.”

    I can not vouch for Bertain, but 7:22 nailed-it with Wooley.
    Wooley lives in Manila but refuses to go to the beach and see the disaster his ‘friends’ have introduced to the shoreline.
    They have exposed our FEMA insured water-main forcing HBMWD to go out on BLM land with bulldozers to scoop sand onto their EXPOSED pipe. Sans permit!
    As if that were not stunning enough, the useful idiots pulled the vegetation off of Manila’s foredune which will lead to more pipe exposure.
    That is just the tip of infrastructure problems. Our natural resources, wetlands, have been so abused they no longer function.
    Dead trees and erosion is the result.

    I went to the HBMWD board meeting, not one board member knew that they had failed to map their 42″ FEMA insured water-pipe that runs in the trough, now we find what happens when ‘science’ is ignored.

    This misery that we pass on to the next generation is the result of useful idiots, and criminal in every way shape and form.

    If we simply map our infrastructure, marshes and wetlands this crap would cease.

  88. January 15, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Anonymous 8:47 started drinking awfully early.

  89. jr
    January 15, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Decline to State mentions what will be the westbound train haul. Probably logs from the National Forest to be loaded on the ships headed back to China to be milled into lumber.

  90. January 15, 2012 at 9:54 am

    My little Dung Beetle drank too much last night, because he meant to say that Anonymous 8:37 started drinking early. Sorry, Anonymous 8:47.

    Hugs of contrition!

  91. January 15, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I know that many of the folks who will not ride the bus and choose to drive would love to take the train.

    I would be one of those, until I read it took the old train 14 hours to reach the Bay Area, or wherever it was the line ended.

  92. anonymous
    January 15, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Dan, Stick to bashing any and everyone trying to do anything positive in Manila. We know you would prefer everyone to die and leave and let nature take its course rather than invest in positive, planned, restoration with community input and professional guidance. What you do is rant until people delete themselves from listserves because they are getting spammed by you diatribes. Please spare us at the Herald.

  93. jr
    January 15, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Fred: I last road the Eureka Southern in 1985 when it ran to Willits with old North Coast Daylight cars. I think it took 9 hours from Eureka to Willits which meant taking Greyhound back. I don’t think the train ever went faster than 30 mph for the entire trip. The wildlife along the route were traveling faster. But it was a great trip, good food, and great scenery. It is a shame that it can’t (won’t) run again.

  94. January 15, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Sorry, Anonymous 8:47, but the Dung Beetle was referring to Anonymous 8:37. Sorry for the mishtake. Hic.

    What’s “Barry”?

  95. owltotem
    January 15, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Daylight express was awesome! Great food, cocktail car, super service, unbelievable scenery. That was a real loss and the type of tourist niche industry HC just stopped investing in.

    Comparing the ideals and plans of those in power today and our flavor of the past, we are evolving quite rapidly into Anytown USA and only the citizens here, through steadfast belief in preserving, appreciating and sharing our history and unique local flavor can change the direction of our growth.

    We have a diningroom box on the side of the Carson Mansion, a giant pink Jail in Oldtown, the deteriorating Bayshore mall welcoming travelers from the south. This is a reflection of the visionaries we continue to let fleece our future…and for that matter we continue to elect.

    Bit by bit we are losing our most valuable resources, our character, our quality of life.

  96. January 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    The wildlife along the route were traveling faster. But it was a great trip, good food, and great scenery. .

    That’s sounds all well and good, but I’d probably only do that once, depending on finances. I was thinking more of it being an alternative to driving to San Francisco for business purposes and that would be a bit much for me, especially since it wouldn’t get me anywhere near where I needed to go.

  97. WhatNow
    January 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Since there appears to be issues with folks wanting wind turbines in their neighborhoods, why not design a train with several wind turbines on top of the cars or affixed to platfirm cars?

    Since the energy is Eureka/Pacific BS Express.

    I’ve been a ferroequinlologist for over 40 years and have taken advantage of the opportunity and the priveledge ride trains in several countries and most states. The Daylight express was a wonderful dream but an impossible reality to sustain. I saw the balance sheets and met many of the potential investors.

    THIS eastern rail proposal is an idiotic boondoggle being perpetrated on taxpayers by the same liars, snakeoil peddlars and parasitic developers that sing the glories of boom and bust cycles and hand the clean up bills and losses to those of us who actually produce goods and services for a living and not sleeker and more dazzling ponzi schemes.
    Perhaps this rail lineit was part of the “gig plan” pitched to the former city clowns when they tried pimping the bay out to Wall Street just a few short years back.

    Many of the same voices on here supporting this study (and for widening the highway at Richardson Grove) are the same who express an ideology that disdains expecting THEM to contibute to the maintenance and upkeep of any exisiting infrastructure. Thye can, however, be exprected to show up for the fat government contracts they so detest with their glorious “change orders” and the motherlode of all, LOGCAPs.

    Thye’ve rigged the game and just need to convince us “Hakuna Matata”.

  98. jr
    January 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    What is “Hakuna Matata”? Also, is “ferroquinlologist” a fancy name for foamer? (No slight intended, foamers are great people.)

  99. Julie Timmons
    January 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    The RR, when my family and I used to ride it, left Eureka at 7 or 8 in the morning and arrived in San Rafael (terminus) around five. It certainly went faster than 30 mph.

    Whoever mentioned Coos Bay is right on the money. A year from now they will have their freight service restored to Eugene which means anyone who can get their cargo to CB will be 2 hours from

  100. jr
    January 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm


    Your are right about the speed, but in 1985 the tracks were in such bad shape that a lower speed was necessary. I have photos of cows on the track near Dos Rios and the Fireman had to walk ahead of the train chasing them off the tracks.

  101. January 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    While the Choo-Choo is not going to happen, this did.

    This blog got picked up, and linked to, at Weather Underground.

  102. Ponder z
    January 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    We need the train to get the really big windmills in, so we can stop burning coal.

  103. anon
    January 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Considering that the average railroad salary is NOT $100K+ as stated in the city council resolution, but actually $45K
    ( http://www.simplyhired.com/a/salary/search/q-railroad) we can see that the misinformation and shoddy fact-checking has already started. This doesn’t even address the fact that those who conduct these types of studies usually have a vested interest in seeing that they present a positive conclusion and are therefore biased.
    Let the games begin.

  104. Anonymous
    January 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Fact-checking? I just looked at the staff report (on the Outpost link) and there is little a person could call fact in it. There are plenty of rumors, opinions and speculation. Not one of which is referenced by a report, memo or even a name (other than “supporters”). Who wrote the staff report?

  105. back in the saddle
    January 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    West bound trains from the Midwest would bring wheat to ship to China. Humboldt Bay is a great bulk cargo port since none of the big ports want that kind of cargo. Take off your tin foil hats and try to think. Or just continue to say NONONONONOnononononono.

  106. Anonymous
    January 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    There are at least seven bulk cargo ports on the west coast competing for that action.

  107. back in the saddle
    January 15, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    None with the amount of land available here. Do your research.

  108. back in the saddle
    January 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    And most of those ports deal with auto imports which take up a lot of land – like Benicia, etc. That is how San Diego started to be a major port – auto imports. They do very little these days because containers are compact and pay the port more $$ for the availabel land. Do not make do have a battle of the wits with an unarmed person.

  109. Anonymous
    January 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Wheat exports being squeezed out by car imports? Where?

  110. back in the saddle
    January 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Wheat goes out, autos come in. The old in and out. If a port has enough land, it happens. It is called commerce. The auto ports just have land, and no infrastructure for wheat. Think wood chips, which have been exported out of Humboldt Bay for decades and that big weird thing you don’t have a clue about is what did that. Do some research.

  111. back in the saddle
    January 15, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I don’t mean to be an asshole, but ask me some relevant questions, I will either tell no lies or admit I do not have an answer.

  112. January 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Why would shippers of commodities want to go through to a remote port like ours? Perhaps Back-in-the-saddle thinks that tin foil hats will cheaper if Alcoa ships through Humboldt Bay.

  113. back in the saddle
    January 15, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Joel, now stop it. You obviously know nothing about shipping, railroads or ports. If you just want to trade insults, game on. Put on you tin foil hat dude.

  114. back in the saddle
    January 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    All ports are remote from the final destination for the goods that pass through. Take off the hat for a moment. Think.

  115. back in the saddle
    January 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Want to learn something or do what you know? Trade barbs. It is so much more fun if you are intellegent. Back to you Joel.

  116. Anonymous
    January 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    wheat production in China= 87 thousand metric tons
    India= 67 thousand metric tons
    US= 63.5
    Australia= 24
    Why spend so much to move a product found in such abundance in other countries, especially for moving merchandise that serves to undermine US manufacturing jobs?

  117. January 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Anon at 7:49 if you think the CC is spending our Measure O money responsibly, You’ve been smoking homegrown wacky weed again. The city was on the precipice of bankruptcy. Measure O money was to relieve the burden by funding public safety. No, it was not ‘dedicated’ to PS but that is how it was sold. If you believe paying overtime to have Murl and his “boys’ roust the Occupy folks at 3am is a responsible use of funds, then it’s clear why we were in trouble before, isn’t it?


  118. January 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Back-in-the-saddle is correct. I know nothing about shipping, but he offers no reason why Humboldt Bay would be preferable to established ports that are close to other major forms of transportation (interstate freeways, trains, international airports, etc) and large populations.

    So, for the umpteenth time, why would anyone want to ship through a remote, rural port? Please, convince me; I love trains, but I’ve got a hunch that businesses prefer efficient transport to the alternative.

  119. High Finance
    January 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    The one thing that is certain, the overwhelming majority of Eurekans favor spending whatever it takes to remove the trash heap in front of our courthouse.

    Mouse, you are way out of touch with Eurekans.

  120. jr
    January 15, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Perhaps the advantage to Humboldt Bay would be less delays in loading/unloading and cheaper dock fees than what larger ports charge. Humboldt Bay might be able to undercut other ports in an effort to win shippers.

  121. jr
    January 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    The Occupiers are not disposing of their trash? Maybe the County should place some cans and recyclable containers at the Court House.

  122. Mike Buettner
    January 15, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Before anyone thinks they know what to do with our port they might try this Google search and save us all some time.



  123. Anonymous
    January 15, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    What is forgotten in this conversation about being competitive with other ports is the financial burden of carrying the financing required for the billion dollar investment needed to build the train and port infrastructure and still offer any service that was cheaper than existing ports.

  124. Mike Buettner
    January 15, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    “”It used to be, everything (from Asia) landed on the West Coast and got here by rail,” said Michael Morrow, vice president of the Judge Organization, a trucking and warehousing operation that unloads and loads cargo at Port Newark. Now, “faster transit through the Panama Canal made it competitive for East Coast direct service.”


  125. Mike Buettner
    January 15, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    “The neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together handle about 40 percent of the nation’s imported Asian goods, could lose as much as a quarter of their cargo business by some estimates after the Panama expansion is completed in 2014.”


  126. Mike Buettner
    January 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    “The Los Angeles-Long Beach complex moved about 14 million cargo containers this year, which was 200,000 fewer containers than in 2010.”

    “Meanwhile, East Coast ports are booming. The New York-New Jersey port authority, the nation’s third-largest, saw a 5.3 percent rise in cargo containers this year. Savannah, the fourth-largest port, saw a 3.6 percent increase.”


  127. January 16, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Grain from the Dakotas and the plains of central Canada mostly go to bulk carriers on the Great Lakes or to bulk cargo barges headed down the Mississippi. Even if some farmer in Manitoba wants to ship to the Pacific Coast they actually have the Canadian Pacific Railroad. Those clever Canucks. Grain from Kansas and Oklahoma also goes down the Mississippi, because it is only hundreds of miles to world markets via New Orleans than it is to ship it 2,000 miles to the West Coast. Railroads are more efficient than trucks in places where railroads go but bulk marine carriers are even more efficient than trains. See how this works?

    Please look at a map folks. There are logical reasons for some things in this world.

    And please read the information provided to you by Buettner it is very accurate.

    have a peaceful day,

  128. Somewhat friendly
    January 16, 2012 at 9:58 am

    So if we just keep saying no, then this will go away.

  129. Anonymous because I know better
    January 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

    This is about funneling coffers to consultants like SHN. A peripheral study may justify freight over HW 36 to substantiate development of Redwood Terminal. Another external benefit (to the powers that be) of paying for a study like this may be a future favor to do something like produce another bunk study to kill something the old boys see as the threat of a progressive success. It is about politics and corruption as usual folk. Follow the money, who is paying for the study and who’s getting the check.

  130. January 16, 2012 at 10:30 am

    pitchfork says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:39 am
    .”……..Humboldt Bay is not a natural deep water port, it’s a breached lagoon.”

    The forces that created the spit, created the bay.
    We are a product of outflow sands from rivers to our north.
    The more the watershed of these rivers was logged the more they contribute to the accretion of our fore dunes (logging=erosion).

    We have excellent facilities for barge-traffic- why fuck with it? What we will be shipping out is BULK mineral or cellulose. Perfect barge material.
    We do not need a deep water port- or rail our port is fine for barges, and will keep our tugs busy- and our products are ‘RAW’ and should not be shipped off-shore til we put “LABOR’ into those raw materials.
    You want to dredge to make it deeper? You do so at the risk of de-stabilizing the jetties, shore-lines and natural systems.

    How are we doing?
    Look at the dune behind Sierra Pacific, about to breach into a
    waterway, we have County planners and so-called enviros looking forward to it.

    Idiocy on the level of criminality.

  131. Anonymous
    January 16, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Maybe just the speculation of things to come (created by these studies) is enough to maintain land values for those that have it.

  132. Mike Buettner
    January 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    A short must read if you think Humboldt Bay can compete as a port:

    Running competitiveness aground


    “By 2014 there will be 1,200 “post-Panamax” ships — marvels of naval architecture, floating mountains — built for commerce after the (Panama) canal widening. They will carry up to 18,000 containers. The widening, says Jim Newsome, CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority, will be “the biggest game-changer in the history of containerization.”

  133. January 16, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    HiFi, your Gestapo salutes you. If you really think average Eurekans want StormTroopers ala Murl, then you belong somewhere else, maybe a very hot place?

    Meanwhile, short sea shipping is right under our noses and can’t seem to get the push it needs. Cheaper shipping in and out, minimal dredging, and no cost for rail rights-of-way. Hmmm, maybe it is too good to be true.

  134. back in the saddle
    January 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    OK – China imports wheat and corn and lots of other stuff that we produce. The shippers – once again into the breach – are the ones who choose the ports based on turn around times. The RR, truck times etc do not matter to them. The entrance is dredge by the Army Corps of Engineers to 48′. That is a real plus if you are a fisherman. There are a number of shoreline places that naturally dredge themselves because of tidal action. There is one spot that consistanty stays over 40″ deep without any dredging. The products will come when the infrastructure is in place. Yes you have to compete with other ports. Count the number on the East Coast, then count the number on the West Coast. Do some research besides picking the negatives. There are positives. But not on this blog.

  135. Anonymous
    January 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm


    RobPushedMe, PJ and NAN salute you; average Eurekans DO want fine police officers like Murl Harpham. Way to bring Godwin’s law into the equation though, thanks for the laugh – shows that all you have are lies and distortion of facts, ala your incorrect claim regarding the use of Measure O funds.

  136. Goldie
    January 16, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    The Case Against Short Sea Shipping
    Despite the hype and false promises, SSS is an attack on our union jobshttp://www.longshoreshippingnews.com/2011/02/the-case-against-short-sea-shipping/
    These guys are not that happy with the idea of opening up other ports on the West Coast.

  137. Anonymous
    January 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Along with old growth redwood, Humboldt County once exported enormous quantities of various grains and could do so again.

    Once the human race wakes up and replaces plastics with soy beans, we can bid the cows adieu.

    Anyone claiming that Eurekans want the occupy protest stopped is a liar who hasn’t heard the large majority of cars honking their horns in support.

  138. just middle class
    January 17, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Large majority = more than half, or as much as 3/4. When I have been at the courthouse, several times last week, I did not hear this. Most of the land used here for cattle pasture is not suitable for farming for field crops, so the idea that cows will be replaced by soybeans is not based on facts.
    I am simply amazed by the “factual” statements made by many posters.

  139. back in the saddle
    January 17, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Some of you folk need to research “economic advantage”. Cows produce great here, soybeans can be, OH MY GOD, brought in by rail from somewhere where they do great. As my father use to say, “Think!”,

  140. High Finance
    January 17, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Anyone who says “the large marjority of cars” passing by the Courthouse are honking their horns in support is a flat out liar.

    And Mouse ? you are so far left you have no understanding of what the majority of Eurekans think, feel or believe anymore.

  141. January 17, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Why don’t we find out whether or not a train from remote Humboldt Bay to the Central Valley would attract sufficient business before we start paying engineers to tell us if it could be built?

  142. January 17, 2012 at 10:57 am


  143. anon
    January 17, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Presidents, presidential candidates, well-known republicans, & well-known dems across the country can’t even agree on costs & benefits of rail.


    But Eureka has something they don’t have. The Tyson/Arkley team!

    Get comfortable, cuz it’s gonna be fun watching Eureka chase it’s tail on this one.

  144. January 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    HiFi, I guess left or right depends on where you start. From where you sit, Atilla the Hun is Far Left. I’m sure the 1890’s were fun times for somebody but only you want then back so badly. Tell me, from way out here on the Right, can you still see the single digit held aloft in salute to you?

  145. Plain Jane
    January 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I’m interested in the cow angle too, BITS. One reason given for needing the Richardson’s Grove project was for cattle trucks. How much beef is shipped out of Humboldt County and how much would the ranchers save if it was by train?

  146. just middle class
    January 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    The last agricultural census placed Humboldt County’s beef production at over $20 million a year. It is one of our largest economic sectors.

  147. back in the saddle
    January 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Remote Humboldt Bay is just as remote as Coos Bay, Astoria, Oxnard or any number of ports. TURNAROUND TIME. That is all the shippers care about. Not where, nor how. We buy plastic bottle filled with tap water. Commodities? They are everywhere you look. That is what business is all about. Supply & Demand. Did anyone take an economics course here?

  148. Anonymous
    January 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    They are not as remote. They do not require a billion dollar railroad to be built.

  149. January 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Anonymous 7:36 hit the nail on the head.

  150. back in the saddle
    January 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    The RR in Coos Bay was rebuilt.

  151. Anonymous
    January 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For about $16 million.

  152. Anonymous
    January 17, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Including the purchase of the rail line.

  153. Anonymous
    January 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Excuse me, $30 million. Still less than a billion.

  154. Anonymous
    January 17, 2012 at 8:13 pm
  155. Bill Barnum
    January 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Tonight the Eureka City Council voted 4-0 (with Lance Madsen absent) to support the idea and promote a feasibility study for an eastern rail route from Humboldt Bay to Red Bluff. Thanks!

  156. January 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I have already done the study, let’s move on from this silliness.

    have a peaceful day,

  157. anon
    January 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    So the council wants to support the idea and promote a feasibility study. Let’s see whose pocket the money comes out of.

  158. Percy
    January 18, 2012 at 12:40 am

    So there’s Eureka funding available for a feasability study for the Barnum Railroad but not one hard earned tax dollar for the Jefferson School Community Center. Who woulda thunk. Bet I know who voted against it.

  159. Percy
    January 18, 2012 at 12:44 am

    WTF, Atkins voted FOR it?

  160. humboldturtle
    January 18, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Maybe it’s for a nuke train. Maybe it’s about Walmart’s Distribution Center in Red Bluff…

  161. January 18, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Ms. Atkins was willing to support it if the language was changed so that the city would not be the lead agency. This was suggested by Ms. Ciarabellini. They were both reluctant to make any sort of financial commitment to this misguided, cart-before-the-horse fantasy.

  162. January 18, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Sorry, “misguided, cart-before-the-horse fantasy,” my words, not theirs.

  163. Posey
    January 18, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Drill baby, drill before all the Headwaters (Funds) are gone.

  164. anon
    January 18, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Eureka is a little burg in the middle of other little burgs in the middle of nowhere. It’s got nothin goin for it that justifies the huge investment rail would require, no matter which direction it goes.

    This is just an opportunity for those who commission the studies make constituents think they are actually working and are forward-thinking, and for those who do the studies to line their pockets.

    I predict that in 3 years time this won’t even be on the table anymore.

  165. January 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Bill Barnum lauds this effort,that is enough cheerleading for me to question who is the net beneficiary of this boondoggle.
    Let Barnum et al organize a group of private investment folks, no public money, then we shall see if this route has traction…very, very unlikely. More probable strategy is once again digging deep into public pockets to build this route to nowhere.
    You folks want it? Then build it! count me as a taxpayer o-u-t…

  166. Anonymous
    January 18, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I predict in three years we will have a highly competent police chief, still undoing all the damage caused by garr.

  167. January 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Anonymous 6:29 is lost in the Herald threads after belting down a few.

  168. High Finance
    January 19, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Should Humbilly et al organize a group of private investment folks, no public money, to maintain 101 ?

    Infrastructure is the role of the government.

  169. Plain Jane
    January 19, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Infrastructure that belongs to private industry and serves only private industry should be funded only by private industry.

  170. January 19, 2012 at 10:47 am

    If you are ok with the government owning the railroad like it does the highways then I am ok with the government paying for the railroad, in general.

    Is that what you mean when you say infrastructure is the role of government, Hi Fi? Do tell.

    And I reiterate, a railroad to Red Bluff or Redding is simply whack, no matter who pays for it.

    have a peaceful day,

  171. High Finance
    January 19, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Government owns the freeways but not the trucks carrying goods. The trucks are owned by private businesses.

    There is no difference between that and the government owning the rail lines but not the companies shipping the rail cars.

    I have no idea if a railroad to Red Bluff is “whack” or not, isn’t that the idea of having a study ?

    And Bill, I was not aware that besides being a big time important CEO you are also a railroad expert.

  172. January 19, 2012 at 10:57 am

    “Infrastructure is the role of the government.” Yes, and government ownership of that infrastructure would follow this logic.

    If you want to compare this to highways, HiFi, it’s more like the government building a highway and then turning it over as a toll road to private, or “special” interests.

  173. Anonymous
    January 19, 2012 at 11:35 am

    It seems HiFi is forgetting the role of the private “operator” of the rail line. The NCRA gave the rights to the rail line in Humboldt County (for the next 90 years) to a private party. Its hard to know what the government ‘owns’ in that situation.

  174. January 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    So High Finance you are in favor of the government owning the rail lines as long as the companies using the rail lines are private?

    have a peaceful day,

  175. Plain Jane
    January 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    HiFi is always in favor of anything that benefits the people who share his political views and against anything that doesn’t. Privatize the profit, externalize the costs and spare no worker a dime unnecessarily. I wonder if people like HiFi, who claim to be Christian, love corporations so much because the corporation can act on their behalf without the need for morals, the perfect sociopathic money machine.

  176. Anonymous
    January 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    corporation can act on their behalf without the need for morals

    Corporations chartered anywhere except Delaware are required to serve the public good. Naturally, most corporations choose to base their on-paper operations in Delaware, but those who don’t could, theoretically, be called to reconcile their actions and be shut down if they’ve violated their charter.

  177. High Finance
    January 19, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    PJ, Huh ?

    Mitch is going to score your post in the insult column. But doesn’t everybody benefit if the railroad gets up and running to the North Coast again ? More jobs, cheaper shipping costs.

    Most corporations do NOT base in Delaware 1.11pm. And I would like to know where this “requirement” to serve the public good is stated.

    But corporations provide jobs, isn’t that a GOOD thing ?

  178. January 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    “Corporations … are required to serve the public good”?

  179. RefFan
    January 20, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Joel,there are different types of corporations. Read below regarding a benefit corp which is the only one that states that they must create a benefit to society.
    “A benefit corporation, or in short-hand a B corporation, is a class of corporation required by law to create general benefit for society as well as for shareholders. Benefit Corporations must create a material positive impact on society, and consider how their decisions affect their employees, community, and the environment. Moreover, they must publicly report on their social and environmental performances using established third-party standards.”Wikipedia

  180. Plain Jane
    January 20, 2012 at 9:16 am

    The same could be said for building a factory, HiFi. Should the taxpayers build factories and give them away because they’ll create jobs, reduce shipping costs and (maybe) bring down prices? You don’t sound very dedicated to “free market” principles.

  181. RefFan
    January 20, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Ok, Maybe my bad. The more I researched the more I found that corporations 600 years ago till the early 1900’s were expected to benefit the public & not just make money
    “The corporation is a creature of the state,” the Supreme Court observed in 1906. “It is presumed to be incorporated for the benefit of the public.”

  182. High Finance
    January 20, 2012 at 10:23 am

    The difference PJ is the cost. Just as no private sector company could ever afford the cost of building hwy 101 no private sector company could hope to afford to pay for hundreds or thousands of miles of rail lines.

    The transcontinental railroad was built by private companies but heavily subsidized by the federal government. The building of that railroad brought economic benefits to the entire country.

    But building a factory is far cheaper.

  183. Plain Jane
    January 20, 2012 at 10:32 am

    It’s the same principle regardless of cost, HiFi. The idea that a RR corp doesn’t have the money but the taxpayers do is hilarious. If it was sensible and expected to create profit, they would build it and would have little problem raising funds from private parties who are desperate for a good place to invest. Everyone uses the highway so it is sensible that we all pay for it, with those who do the most damage (big trucks) paying a larger share.

  184. Anonymous
    January 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I think we would ALL use the rail service if we had passenger cars on that route. Seems like such an impossibility. A shipping choice as well for all of us?

  185. jr
    January 20, 2012 at 10:52 am

    “The transcontinental railroad was built by private companies…” is correct, but these companies (Union Pacific and the Central Pacific) saw the building of the railroad as a means for acquiring the land which was given to these companies by the government in alternating one mile square tracts. The Big Four were not so much railroaders as land speculators. Perhaps this is the real motivation for the Eureka-Red Bluff proposal.

  186. Harold Knight
    January 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    “no private sector company could ever afford the cost of building hwy 101 no private sector company could hope to afford to pay for hundreds or thousands of miles of rail lines”.

    Unless, of course that company was GM that systematically bought and dismantled every electric rail line serving many cities in the U.S.. The results were huge sale increases for GM autos and buses…thanks to a public-funded highway system that made it possible. It was the largest anti-trust lawsuit of the era. GM is not the only private beneficiary of highways that could have (instead) combined efforts to build more roads, and better public transportation…as opposed to illegally rigging the system to extract public wealth for private gain.

    I have to agree with Jr.

    Union Pacific paid $1 per acre for land they’ve been selling ever-since. Even Greyhound takes advantage of every property boom in the U.S. when they liquidate more terminals.

    As Plain Jane pointed out, too many corporations (like Greyhound) privatize profits and socialize the costs, profiting from public roads while gladly dumping children off on highway 101 in Eureka, in the pouring rain, and into Saturday night traffic, after selling their terminal building at the height of the bubble.

  187. Thirdeye
    January 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Railway construction has always been government subsidized. In the UK, the subsidy was in the form of construction costs borne by the government. In the US, the subsidy was in the form of land grants. Selling surplus grant lands was one way railway construction was financed.

    La/Long Beach and Puget Sound are the container ports used for trans-shipment to the interior and eastern US because of their rail advantages. Oakland is a regional, not national, container port. Could a Humboldt Bay container port with a 150 mile interior rail link compete with Oakland? Maybe. How is the volume through Oakland affecting turnaround times? Would the turnaround times be significantly better at a HB port with the hypothetical rail line? How would the costs of rail shipment compare with those of Oakland? But as a bulk carrier port, HB could definitely compete with Stockton and Sacramento because of the long inland waterways to those ports. That would be particularly true for products from the northern part of the state.

  188. January 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Thirdeye daydreams:

    “Could a Humboldt container port with a 150 mile interior rail link compete with Oakland?”

    No. That’s the simple (and geographically truthful) answer.

    Maybe you should do a feasibility study of moving the Great Salt Lake about 150 miles south. A trillion $ should git her done. Then the Oakland rail line will have to take the 300 mile detour instead of our rail line.

    I have actually driven all the way around the Salt Lake in my car. It is an impressive geological feature.

    have a peaceful day,

  189. January 23, 2012 at 10:39 am

    thirdeye: “Humboldt Bay could compete for products shipped from the northern part of the state.”

    Please identify these products. Be specific. The specifics seem to be missing in this preposterous proposal.

    have a peaceful day,

  190. February 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    There are three ways a railroad can obtain property. If the predecessor railroads to the UP acquired the Balloon Tract via ways 2 or 3, then they have no clear title to the tract. Some lawyers need to investigate the title history of the Balloon Tract.

    via Iowa Dept of Transportation:


    Generally speaking, railroad companies have acquired title to their rightof-way (ROW) in one of several ways:

    (I) TITLE BY FEE SIMPLE ABSOLUTE. Fee Simple Absolute or Warranty Deed mean, in simple terms, that the railroad acquired the land outright or received it through a federal land grant and has complete rights to the property.

    (ii) TITLE BY FEE SIMPLE DETERMINABLE. Fee Simple Determinable is similar to an easement in that there are conditions and restrictions on the use of the property. For example, a seller may include conditions and restrictive terms in the deed which allows the railroad to hold title to the property “only so long as the property is used for ‘rail operations’ or ‘rail purposes’.”
    If the railroad does not use the property as set out in the deed, then the property reverts to the seller, the seller’s heirs, successors or assignees.

    (iii) EASEMENT / EMINENT DOMAIN. An Easement provides for a specific and limited use of property which is owned by another. When the property is no longer used for the specific purpose set forth in the easement document it reverts to the owner. Title to the property acquired under the power of Eminent Domain is considered to be only an Easement.”


  191. tra
    February 19, 2012 at 11:37 am

    From today’s Times-Standard:

    “Staff is recommending that the [Eureka city] council approve applications seeking the following funds: $25,000 for an east-to-west railroad feasibility study…If approved by the council Tuesday, the applications would be brought back to the council for final approval and submission at a future meeting.”


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