Mendocino Railway is taking over GP millsite and Fort Bragg city officials aren’t happy

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6 thoughts on “Mendocino Railway is taking over GP millsite and Fort Bragg city officials aren’t happy

  1. Why do you what to take incoming tours and people that live here for a 100.years or more and change what thay have had in care for and change it. We like the train and it your history and been here for all your children to in joy. Everytime you change things like this you take away the things everyone that lived on the coast for more then fifty years. Away from them and there children will never get to ride the train with there grandpa like I did. His name Harvey Brown chief of Willits fire Department. And he cared about the train.

  2. The contention that the RR expansion would facilitate shipping coal to Chine is PURE BULLSNOT… The NWPRR / NCRA line north of Willits will 95% probability never see a train again… the Eel River Canyon rails were the most expensive in the US to maintain because of the constant land slides.

    And Humboldt Bay will most likely never be dredge & developed for freight ships, and freight ship sure as hell can’t dock at Ft Bragg.

    And also, consider the NWPRR / NCRSA line from Cloverdale to Willits most likely not be rehabilitated & put back into service… maybe as a Class 2 Railroad at best.

  3. Coastal residents found something interesting in their mailboxes and post office boxes this past week –” The Little Stinker”. The four color 8-page 11×17 newsprint newsletter entitled “The Little Stinker” (yep that is the name of it!) put out by the Mendocino Railway/Skunk Train/Sierra Energy outfit looks like it puts forth some ambitious development that runs roughshod over the City of Ft. Bragg’s Mill Site Specific Plan. The Mill Site Plan was informed by hours of public scoping sessions and expert input with keeping in mind the General Plan Update processes and Local Coastal Program (LCP) amendments, etc.

    The “Little Stinker” makes a whole host of claims one of which states, “Taking ownership of a large portion of the historic coastal Mill Site, the Skunk Train will work with experts to develop a world class-destination, breathing new life into this unique stretch of coastline.”
    Hmmn? Who is the “stinker” that says taking ownership will trump public input and all the General Plan zoning, and policies and guidelines set forth by Ft. Bragg City Council and which in turn must be certified by the Coastal Commission?
    This tourist train with its ticket office/depot located at the Foot of East Laurel Street is much loved and one of the main attractions in Ft. Bragg’s historic downtown Who is in charge of Fort Bragg’s future is the question.
    The Skunk Train public relations press releases keeps shifting including with some unrealized plans over the years, and more so, ever so recently, to fit what appears to be the whim of private development.
    This time, as indicated in the “Little Stinker,” it is about the increasing the railroad’s footprint along the former Georgia Pacific Mill site with expanding enterprises as in hotels, condos and a sundry of what not transport ideas. All that and more are part of the scheme of things. Is this all really about investors and developers’ ocean side dream property? A Cypress Station at Cypress Street on Highway 1 with a restaurant?
    Why now is this enterprise claiming rights as a federally operating railroad? Hmmn? By the way who has been paying into the Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits for the Skunk Train R.R. employees? Many more questions need to be asked here.
    Meanwhile precarious geological complications have not once but twice have put this tourist excursion train out of action.
    The Skunk Train’s Round House in Ft. Bragg has been in disrepair for years. The former Mill Site dry sheds still stand waiting for their promise of rebuild and repair. The area public wants daylighting of creeks and the toxic cleanup on the closed areas of the Mills Site and so on.
    Are the tracks and bridges along the railroad’s switch backs and canyons still stable on the way to Willits? Who keeps it all in repair along the rugged terrain?
    The Skunk Train tunnel west end collapsed in 2015 and the east end collapsed in 2013. In 1998 Rail-Ways Inc. private freight operator for NCRA Line north of Willits closed because of slides.
    In 1989 a series of devastating storms flooded the Eel River to record heights effectively destroying the line between Willits and Eureka forcing its closure. Further storms and subsidence closed the section from Willits south to Petaluma.
    In February 2001, after repairs, the NWP resumed operations south of Petaluma. However, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) declared the track unfit for traffic in October 2001 and operations ceased. Not sure what is in the mix now after all that.
    A skunk does not change its stripes and the Skunk Train – a tourist train it is!

    According to the Federal Railroad Administration, “Tourist, scenic, historic, or excursion operations are railroad operations that carry passengers, often using antiquated equipment, with the conveyance of the passengers to a particular destination not being the principal purpose.”

  4. Imminent domain? BS they give tourists rides for an exorbitant amount of money for a 45 minute ride to nowhere. It’s lovely, but not public transportation. Monopolization of something that is not in the community’s best interest. It’s sad and I hope they fail.

  5. Sounds like a Land Grab for Monied developers. And polititions to help them get a lot for nothing. Same Old Story. When will people wise up?

  6. I’m strongly in favor of developing and maintaining railway systems, especially when they are used for a combination of freight and passenger conveyance.

    While The Skunk Train may not currently be able to offer more than excursions, with funding it could absolutely be a service to the public once again.

    I have read many times this year of the water being trucked in daily from Ukiah to the Mendocino Coast; that could be sent the majority of the way by rail instead. Reducing the amount of freight going by trucks would absolutely make the drive safer and less frustrating for residents who share the highway, and residents with no access to cars could benefit by being able to travel between towns by train. Especially here on the west coast, completely abandoning railways as public transport in favor of becoming a “car culture” only has not done anyone any favors.

    I look forward to the Skunk Train receiving its funding necessary to restore the line and expand its service. There are many examples worldwide of heritage railways that act as both tourist excursion railways and convenient commuter service for residents, and I would be proud to have one so near my hometown!

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