Home > Economy > Redding revved-up about East-West rail

Redding revved-up about East-West rail

Editors at the Redding Searchlight are excited by the idea of an East-West rail line that would start at Humboldt Bay and open extreme Northern California to Chinese markets.

It would transform Humboldt Bay from an isolated and forgotten backwater into a potentially significant node in the larger web of Pacific freight.

Darn tootin’.  We don’t want Redding (or China) to go on forgetting about us.

The editorial goes on:

It’s not just government showing interest. Where would a grand railroad scheme be without a brash and colorful capitalist? This one has that, too.

Rob Arkley, a wealthy North Coast businessman who seems to find a fight at every turn, but who also employs hundreds through his Security National Master Holding Co., has taken a personal interest in the rail line. In a recent radio interview, he claimed it could be built in part because the ground it would cover is in remote regions with relatively few landowners – simplifying the process of negotiating rights-of-way.

There you have it.

[Image source.]

  1. April 29, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Why don’t Rob Arkley clean up his mess in Eureka and leave the mountains alone. And where of where does he think the money is coming from to build this rail line???

  2. Anonymous
    April 29, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Has Arkley officially given up on the Marina Center? Is this his new pet project?

  3. Anonymous
    April 29, 2012 at 9:17 am

    The Redding op-ed ends with this:

    “It was Gandhi who supposedly described a progression for outsized ideas: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    Ignorance and ridicule will run their course, as they did with the silly ideas of tablet computing (iPad anyone?) and putting humans on the moon. But this century-old rail line concept may have lasting power, and it’s worth thinking seriously about what it would mean for us.”

    I agree.

  4. Gagging on My Quiche
    April 29, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Did someone actually compare Arkley to Gandhi?

  5. ShinToe
    April 29, 2012 at 10:15 am

    No, just the way they think.

  6. Anonymous
    April 29, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Not suprised by the rush by some to have our beloved Humboldt Bay and the mountians and rivers to the east become the next sacrifice at the alter of run away consumeriusm. Sometimes it seems nowhere is safe.

  7. Anonymous
    April 29, 2012 at 10:44 am

    run away consumeriusm

    It’s always an either-or proposition, isn’t it? Either conservatives want a rampant pro-business climate or progressives want no growth. If you want to say progressives aren’t for ‘no growth,’ then lay off the baloney when it comes to conservative viewpoints.

  8. anonymous
    April 29, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Why is this beautiful little bay and surrounding land always a target of behemoth industrial schemes?

  9. skippy
    April 29, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Both Tehama and Trinity counties recently endorsed the Humboldt Bay Alternative Rail Route Feasibility Study. No one wants to pony up the study money quite yet, though.

    Garnering approval by the Eureka City Council back in January after being fast-tracked by Councilmember Mike Newman, 16 letters of support have been received from cities, unions, businesses, and surprisingly enough, the Six Rivers and Shasta-Trinity National Forests. Local organizations include: the Eureka Chamber of Commerce; Building and Construction Trades Council of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties; Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company; Wiyot Tribe; Humboldt Redwood Company; International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 14; Central Labor Council AFL-CIO of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties; Rail and Port Infrastructure Task Force; California Marine and Intermodal Transportation System Advisory Council; and the cities of Fortuna and Rio Dell.

    Former Harbor Bay Harbor District CEO and Eureka consultant David Hull (and Associates) was hired by the city to work on the project. “In these economic times it (a Humboldt rail connection) has become a huge issue,” he remarked to the Redding Record-Searchlight Thursday.

    “Costing roughly $250,000, the study won’t identify who would use the rail line or the types of cargo transported,” Hull said. “It’s more of a physical feasibility study and not a market study. Eureka is looking at block grant funds for its request for proposals and there’s been talk of seeking U.S. Department of Agriculture money as well. There’s also actually some private interest, too,” he added.

    Hull knows the rail project is in its infancy and the next step, he said, is to develop some sort of memorandum of understanding, identifying the roles of the cities and counties involved, and the costs and timelines. “It’s a giant project and it’s going to take a lot of work to get it to happen,” Hull said.

    And lots of money, too, we presume.

  10. SNaFU
    April 29, 2012 at 10:56 am

    …and from the western side we shall call it the “Bud Train Silver Bullet”

  11. Giggles
    April 29, 2012 at 11:21 am

    In 1875 it cost $ 381,178.92 for 26 miles of mountain rail track ($14,660.70 per mile) [1]

    Adjusted for inflation that is $ 7,941,208.33 in 2012 dollars ($305,431.09 per mile) [2]

    Distance Redding to Eureka (google) 147.7 mi along CA-299 W
    Also known as 237.7 Kilometers

    Multiplying $305,431.09 per mile by 147.7 miles is $45,112,171.93 (without legal and permit costs)

    Costs of other modern projects? Seoul-Gimpo, Korea 2010 Airport line $98.1 million 20.4 kms [3]

    How much would Eureka to Redding cost at the per kilometer cost of the Seoul Line? Their project cost $4,808,823 per kilometer… It’s 237.7 Km from Redding to Eureka… hence to build a modern line like they do in Korea would cost $1,143,057,352.94

    So there’s the price range… $45 million to way over a billion dollars.


    [1] Estimate of cost of constructing a mountain line … the estimate was made in 1875 by Ray Morley, for a line “from the mouth of Antelope Creek at Sagauche River, up canyons, over North Cochetopa Pass and down Cochetop Creek to Wales Ranch. http://tacnet.missouri.org/history/railroads/rrcosts.html

    [2] http://www.davemanuel.com/inflation-calculator.php

    [3] http://www.railway-technical.com/finance.shtml

  12. Mitch
    April 29, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I think what needs to happen to make this rail line a planetary reality is everyone chanting the proper prosperity sounds, like Stacey. She can’t save the country on her own.

  13. April 29, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Yeah, but didn’t Mark Lovelace and Virginia Bass both jointly endorse Lawson last month with a nice kissy face pic? What are they chanting?

  14. Mitch
    April 29, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Levitation would be enormously helpful at some of the mountain passes.

    With a few billions of dollars and some artful, well-timed, and properly quantum chanting, I think the project can manifest on this plane. And the studies can bring PROSPERITY! to those who do studies.

  15. April 29, 2012 at 11:32 am

    My apologies Lovelace and Bass endorsed Susan Adams, not Lawson. It was a nice kissy face pic right here on the Herald.

    have a peaceful day,

  16. Ponder z
    April 29, 2012 at 11:34 am

    As pro capitalist as I am, I cant see a valid point to this project.
    Goods form China: no thanks
    Jobs on the bay: our longshoreman union workers would loose out on all those air commuter miles to West Sac.
    Outgoing trade from Redding: logs, gold, gravel, ????

    Not to mentions getting the thing built, land and easements, money, enviro wackos.

    Did someone forget about I5, and the proximity to the ports of West Sac and Portland Or, and the fact that a train now runs between the two, right though Redding?

  17. Mitch
    April 29, 2012 at 11:35 am

    More emphasis on the syllable “SA,” Bill. Your aura is a little low.

  18. Anonymous
    April 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    The Redding Record Searchlight’s editorial writer is a knucklehead. Sort of a Fred Mangels light. He posts at E. Kirk’s blog occasionally. The East-West rail pie in the sky study is a taxpayer-funded employment program for David Hull after he got fired from Harbor District. Hull needed a job so his friends conned the Eureka City Council into paying for it.

  19. Economist on a laptop
    April 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Our neighbors to the north in Coos Bay were able to get some federal and state funds (about $24 million) to resurrect their existing rail connection to the main line. See http://portofcoosbay.com/railrehab.htm

    Meanwhile the Port of Oakland is "operating at just over 50% capacity at [thei]r seaport, while there is increasing competition from alternative shipping gateways around the country and the world." http://www.portofoakland.com/newsroom/pressrel/view.asp?id=240

    My question: If the Port of Oakland is struggling with underutilized capacity and increasing competition from alternative shipping gateways, and if Coos Bay already has a functional rail connection to the mainline, then what the hell is the economic argument for building a ~ 150 mile rail line from scratch through mountainous and erosive terrain that duplicates capacity to our north and south?

  20. retired guy
    April 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    This may be a stupid questions but how do these folks plan the route for this debacle? Aren’t there a mountains between here and Redding? Are we talking tunnels? WTF!

  21. April 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    What is the point of spending $250,000 on a feasibility study if the study will only consider the feasibility of building it, but not the economic feasiblity? That makes no sense at all.

    have a peaceful day,

  22. Mitch
    April 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm


    The point of feasibility studies is not to validate a project’s feasibility.

    The point of feasibility studies is that there are hungry consultants who are politically connected. PROSPERITY!

  23. April 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    It is very clever the way the engineering feasibility and the economic feaibility can be split into two separate studies. One study will engender the other in happy life cycles of study. And they say government is not a job creator.

    have a peaceful day,

  24. Anonymous
    April 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Aren’t there a mountains between here and Redding

    I hate to break it to you Retired Guy, but trains can climb mountains. They’ve been doing it for nearly 500 years (if you include human and horse-powered rail cars… which is kind of impressive when you think about it.) It boggles the mind that in the modern era we have people decrying the impossibility of a simple task of engineering.

  25. April 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    How about the feasibility of a fuel pipeline to Humboldt County?

    Let’s see, Humboldtians burn 70 million gallons of the state’s most expensive fuel every year. If a $100 million pipeline cuts the cost of fuel here by 10 cents a gallon that is a savings of $7,000,000 a year, and the pipeline will pay for itself in 15 years.

    have a peaceful day,

  26. The Peculiarity of Prosperity
    April 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Regardless of general popularity
    or even modicum of solidarity
    those who lack clarity
    hand the man a job that is charity.

    While some see only hilarity
    this will lead to more polarity
    caused by the temerity
    of this disparity.

    Such insularity
    can only lead to parody.

  27. HUUFC
    April 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    New locks are under construction at the Panama Canal and are expected to be complete in 2015. They will allow super large container ships to traverse the canal without off loading on the West coast and shipping the containers by rail or truck to the Eastern markets of the USA. More port capacity is not needed on the West coast but is needed on the East coast. Railroad from Humboldt County? Forget it. Short sea shipping from Humboldt Bay? Forget it.
    I love trains and ships but let’s get rea.

  28. suzy blah blah
    April 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    let’s get rea.

    -REA was forced to shut down in the 70s largely due to the expansion of the interstate making UPS more economically feasible.

  29. HUUFC
    April 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Whoops, let’s get real.

  30. Observer
    April 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Marina Center has yet to break ground, I figure another 10 + year out. Tuesday night Eureka City Council is mulling over giving the Chamber of Commerce another $135,000 for operations. What a cesspool! First thing that will be transported on that so called rail will be Nuclear Waste from Humboldt Bay defuct powerplant! Government money is free money to the powers that be! Let Arkley pay for the feasibility study. Why not, he owns this town…

  31. back in the saddle
    April 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Do some research before you talk outta your ass. Check out the number of ports on the east coast, how many actually can handle those ultralarge container ships, how much it costs a shipper to transverse the Panama Canal, how much they have to pay in extra fuel, wages, insurance, etc. As far as cargo goes, you have not a clue because you have not researched what moves where and how much it costs, what the turn-around times are, etc. In other words, you know nothing about shipping, ships, trains, trucks, longshoremen, freight forwarders, customs, or much esle. Just some stuff coming otta your ass.

  32. Thirdeye
    April 30, 2012 at 1:16 am

    Thanks for the search, Mike. The actual effect of the Panama Canal enlargement seems to be far from certain. There are already ships in the Pacific trade that won’t fit through the enlarged canal.

  33. walt
    April 30, 2012 at 6:33 am

    . . .And these will fit in Humboldt Bay?

  34. Sunny
    April 30, 2012 at 7:01 am

    We’ll need a study to determine that walt.

  35. Anonymous
    April 30, 2012 at 8:10 am

    trains are good, ships are good, jobs are good, stewarship is good/// they can and do work well together/// people can disagree too and still work together////

  36. ////////
    April 30, 2012 at 8:29 am

    8:10, pretend there is a hole in the ground. You want to dig the hole bigger. I want to fill the hole in. Grab your shovel. Yeah, we can work together! Its a job! And it’s ALL good, huh?

  37. Eric Kirk
    April 30, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Well, if such a railroad is feasible, I would support it. But I think it’s a pipe dream, and I don’t support public funds being used to fund “feasibility studies.” If private interests want to pony up, then more power to them.

  38. SmokeMonster
    April 30, 2012 at 9:19 am

    @observer- $135,000!! Warren J Hockaday sure has a nice racket going on doesn’t he?

    Notice all of the improvements to the ECC since Newwwwwman took office? How How the hell is he allowed to vote on any item involving the ECC as it is?

  39. Anon
    April 30, 2012 at 9:47 am

    The comments on that editorial are hilarious…I see the Redding Searchlight doesn’t have the Arkley trolls that the Herald does. Yet.

  40. Observer
    April 30, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Sounds a lot like Dave Hull’s failed Redwood Marine Terminal Feasibility Study–it was so bad the Headwaters Fund actually considered demanding the grant money back, and quickly rejected any further grants. But of course his buddy Dave Tyson got him some Eureka taxpayers’ money (cuz there’s so much extra rolling around).

  41. April 30, 2012 at 10:31 am


  42. April 30, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Andrew’s face was redder then a ripe tomato when he was caught sliding down a telephone pole after slicing political signs . You should of seen his embarassment after his underwear got caught on one of the steps and he couldn’t free himself Remember that, Andrew ………….!

  43. Plain Jane
    April 30, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I don’t see an Andrew posting here, Dennis, or anything in your post relevant to this thread.

  44. Jack Sherman
    April 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Once again Highboltage nailed the issue by pointing out how a fuel-line to Humboldt County would actually pay for itself in cost-savings to residents.

    Unfortunately, every remaining drop of “cheap” oil is needed to launch America’s waning green-economy. Our inevitable development, distribution and training for every community to be self-sufficient in energy generation cannot be delayed forever.

    There was a time in America that we held scientists and innovators to the highest esteem. Today, scientists have become harbingers of bad-news and unsustainable life-styles, their consistent warnings have made them pariahs to industry and disappeared by media. Oddly, it is only the U.S. military heeding the warnings and rapidly deploying alternative energy generation.

    Ironically, the military is using their new efficiencies to continue America’s slide backwards to enforce the easy imperial ideology of taking what we want of the world’s slave labor and natural resources…following 30 years of divestment’s from the American people, education, innovation, infrastructure, and social welfare.

    I would love to have train service to Redding, but depleting resources are better spent on fundamental needs and critical social changes not being addressed. So far, serving simple imperialist imports has been a losing proposition for every empire.

  45. Anonymous
    April 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Ironically, the military is using their new efficiencies to continue America’s slide backwards to enforce the easy imperial ideology of taking what we want of the world’s slave labor and natural resources…following 30 years of divestment’s from the American people, education, innovation, infrastructure, and social welfare.

    Ironic, or deliberate? Corporations have pretty much taken the place of the military although they keep the puppet show alive to hide their influence. The Corporate/Industrial/Military beast has no allegiance to our country. Hence, the divestment in the USA and investment in the new economic engines, India, China, etc. It ain’t us anymore. We, the people, are not the ones taking what we want from the world’s salve labor and natural resources. We don’t benefit from it. Multinational corporations benefit.

    If we stand up and beg, think they’ll throw us a bone or two?

  46. Anonymous
    April 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    slave labor. that is our future too.All hail the corporate persons. Those “people” rule us. We have willingly become their slaves.

    Tune you TV to Fox and twitter on.

  47. Thorstein Veblen
    April 30, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Our old railroads were built by Chinese labor. I wonder if we will import chinese labor again to build this railroad? Like the Bay Bridge.

  48. High Finance
    April 30, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    So many posters here living life feeling like a helpless victim.

  49. Thorstein Veblen
    April 30, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Just because you feel like a helpless victim doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there trying to stick it to you.

  50. Mitch
    May 1, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Wal-mart’s low, low prices, reason #4,873:


    And HiFi’s right, it’s not just Wal-mart.

  51. sentient@gmail.com
    May 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Let’s let Arkley do something good for Humboldt County and Eureka this time. As much as I disagree with the guy about many things he isn’t an entirely useless contributor and we should try working with him on a goal that could benefit us all.

    The railroad as an isolated development I’m in favor of completely. Making it contingent on other developments in the bay is what to watch out for – no LQD terminals or such.

  52. sentient@gmail.com
    May 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    One major benefit would be reduced trucking on 101. Goods coming into and out of the area over rail is a far preferable method and one that is forward-looking. This will help us fight the widening of 101, destruction of redwoods and scenery, etc.

    If somebody will pay for this I’m all for it. The new right of way construction also opens up the possibility for new data connections and other “pipelines” that could greatly enhance Humboldt’s access to the outside world without tearing down the redwood curtain in a way we all would like to avoid.

  53. Anonymous
    May 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    sentient@gmail.com you really don’t understand much about ports and trains.

  54. Anonymous
    May 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Right. The railroad is an isolated development. They don’t carry cargo so they don’t need to connect to reality. Choo Choo!

    Cutting a railroad line across the mountains would not destroy any scenery, trees, wildlife.

    A railroad line across melting mountains is totally feasible. Why, just look at the railroad along the Eel River. That certainly proves that another railroad, through similar terrain is feasible, harmless and economically smart.

    Scary. Ignorance is not unique to Sentient. Ignorance and delusion get to squander our time and money on their asinine ideas.

  55. Amy Breighton
    May 1, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    It’s the mass-delusion of an imperial economy to believe you should be free to spend whatever capital you have in any manner you chose by virtue of mere possession.

    Owning a classic car, filming a frivolous movie, 10 days in Europe, building a choo choo, are all consuming resources from nations remaining in grotesque poverty.

    “The bad news is that we’ve been invaded by Martians, the good news is that they eat the poor and pee gasoline.” (Kurt Vonnegut)

  56. May 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    And yet another stupid idea to distract from projects that might lead to actual economic development and good jobs for people besides the consultants and the rich who already have theirs. Like a light industrial incubator on the soon-to-be-extinct-Marina-Center site. Not sexy, dumb and resource intensive enough, I guess. HumCo’s economic Death Wish marches on. And on. And on….

  57. Mitch
    May 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm


    I like it. I propose that half the cars on the new choo-choo be equipped to carry bits. The latency will be a bit high, but the bandwidth ginormous.

    All together now: Let’s do a study!

  58. May 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Let’s do a study of providing every household in Eureka with a flying car. That way we can eliminate the cost of streets in the city and also people can fly to Home Depot so we won’t need one on the Balloon Tract.

    The study – I am sure I can get ‘er done for under $200,000 – will only address the engineering aspects of providing flying cars to Eurekans but will not address the economic dimensions of the plan.
    First we need to know if it is possible, then we will tackle the cost. Simple logic.

    I can hear the naysayers, the nimbys and the naboobs already.

    have a peaceful day,

  59. ferd
    May 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I’m for any project that provides a conduit to the outside world, and Humboldt County is in dire need of such a conduit even if it costs a lot. Also, Arkley isn’t obligated to wait for the marina to come together before he embarks on other projects. Yes, let’s give everyone a flying car so we won’t have to despoil this lovely environment.

  60. Harold Knight
    May 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    “Conduit to the outside world”?

    Do we really lack the quantity of Chinese crap enjoyed in every other corner of the globe?

  61. RefFan
    May 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Do you ppl honestly think a railroad is coming back in this day and age?? Completely unfeasible for a southern route and the probability of a eastern route seems a little far fetched. Just becuz Im asking this doesnt mean im against railroads, I wish we never lost ours in the first place but the reality of reopening an old rail line and bldg a new one just doesnt make sense. Plus, I dont believe companies will stop using and dispose of their trucks after this long.

  62. William Verick
    May 4, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    HaHaHaHaHaHa Ha!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s