Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

  by The EGE
Station construction is progressing.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
  by The EGE
That's the future Larkspur Landing station, scheduled to open by the end of next year.
  by lpetrich
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit | Home
Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit - Wikipedia

What opened in 2017 was San Rafael - Sonoma County Airport.

Two stations opened on December 2019: Larkspur (extension) and Novato Downtown (infill). The Larkspur station is on a 2-mile extension from San Rafael, the previous southern end. It is about 1300 feet away from the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.

The SMART site lists four additional stations: Petaluma North (infill), Windsor, Healdsburg, and Cloverdale (extension). The 3-mile extension from Sonoma County Airport to Windsor is currently under construction, but the other three are still in planning.

Windsor - 5.5 mi - Healdsburg - 17 mi - Cloverdale

Cloverdale is as far as they want to go, but the NWP line extends further northward to Ukiah and Willits, then further along Hwy. 101 to Outlet Creek and then north along the Eel River. It ends a little south of Ramsey, at least according to Google Maps. BTW, the line parallels Hwy. 101 for all of its length south of Willits.

Cloverdale - 30 mi - Ukiah - 23 mi - Willits - 58 mi - Ramsey
  by Jeff Smith
SMART's buying a Short Line: https://www.progressiverailroading.com/ ... ne--60542v
The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit's (SMART) board last week approved a California state-sponsored plan that calls for the agency to take ownership of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co.

The complex agreement was years in the making, with the sale's framework established in a 2018 bill that provided SMART with $4 million to buy the railroad, its equipment and exclusive rights to its track from Larkspur to north of Cloverdale, The Press Democrat reported last week.
Under the plan, the insolvent state agency known as the North Coast Railroad Authority would be dissolved, ceding 21 miles of track not owned by SMART from downtown Healdsburg to the Mendocino County line to help one day complete the agency's planned 70-mile passenger line to Cloverdale.
  by lpetrich
I decided to look at the Ramsey terminus, and I found traces of abandoned rail line further north from there along the Eel River. I followed the line northward to where the Eel River bends westward and Tunnel Creek empties into it. There were some sidings and some railcars on the sidings. Also a RR bridge across the Eel River.

North of that, I had to switch to map view. Google Maps had the rail line marked onto it in map mode. It seems that the NWP line goes into a tunnel, then emerges to the north, near where the Eel River bends toward it, and near some houses. The line continues northward, crossing Boulder Creek shortly before it empties into the Eel River. Then across Kekawaka Creek, Then a bridge across the Eel River a little south of Mill Creek. Alderpoint. Steelhead Creek. The W bank of the Eel River to the Dyerville Train Trestle. Then along the E bank of the Eel River to Chris Creek. Stitz Creek. A bit of a RR bridge at Nanning Creek. Fortuna. The line is barely-visible landscape scar, and it sometimes disappears. I found a bit of it at Fields Landing on Humboldt Bay a little south of Eureka. That's as far as I can go.

Distances and Populations: San Rafael 58 K - 21.6 mi - Petaluma 60K - 17.2 mi - Santa Rosa 177 K - 15.1 mi - Healdsburg 12 K - 17.7 mi - Cloverdale 8.9 K - 31.7 mi - Ukiah 16 K - 23.4 mi - Willits 4.9 K - 85.1 mi - Alderpoint 19 K - 84.1 mi - Eureka 45 K

So i doubt that SMART will expand further north than Cloverdale.
  by lpetrich
Titled link for Jeff Smith's article: Rail News - SMART approves plan to acquire California short line. For Railroad Career Professionals

It links to SMART approves multimillion-dollar plan to acquire North Bay freight rail service

No hint as to how far north they want to have a working freight line. But it did mention some other plans.
The framework for the sale was established in a 2018 bill sponsored by state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, that provided SMART with $4 million to buy from Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. its equipment and exclusive freight rights to the track. An obscure and insolvent state agency, the North Coast Railroad Authority, would ultimately be dissolved under the plan, ceding 21 miles of track not owned by SMART from downtown Healdsburg to the Mendocino County line to help one day complete its planned 70-mile passenger line north to Cloverdale.

The endorsement also advances McGuire’s effort over the coming decades to construct a 320-mile recreation pathway from the San Francisco Bay to the Humboldt Bay, lends momentum to extending SMART service on an existing east-west railway along Highway 37.
So the now-abandoned parts of the NWP line will become yet another rail-to-trail.

Hwy. 37 connects Novato and Vallejo, and that would be a good route for a SMART extension.
  by Westernstar1
The extension along Highway 37 would be great! A SMART train from the SMART Hamilton station, in Novato, to Suisun/Fairfield would allow a connection with the AMTRAK Capitol Corridor train. Also a means to travel further east to Davis and Sacramento and give access to the Coast Starlight, Calif. Zephyr, and San Joaquin trains. For myself in the North Bay Area, it would provide a much preferable route compared to the Novato-Larkspur-San Francisco-Emeryville means of connecting with Amtrak.

I also wonder if it would be possible to have a SMART train from Schellville to Suisun/Fairfield along the old route of the California Northern Railroad.

  by Jeff Smith
Second station in Petaluma: ProgressiveRailroading.com
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District’s (SMART) board earlier this week authorized funding the design and construction of a second commuter-rail station in Petaluma, California.

SMART will use $8 million in proceeds from the sale of a downtown property to fund the construction of a new station and parking lot at Corona Road and North McDowell Boulevard, SMART officials said in a press release.
  by lpetrich
That would be the Petaluma North planned station: Stations | Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit

The other three are Windsor, Healdsburg, and Cloverdale, all north of the current north end of the line, Sonoma County Airport. They will take more financing, because they will require a lot of track improvement and signaling installation.
  by Jeff Smith
https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... /50635.pdf

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART), a Class III rail carrier, has filed a verified notice of exemption under 49 C.F.R. § 1150.41 to acquire from North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) and operate approximately 87.65 miles of rail line (the Line), consisting of: (1) the line of railroad and right-of-way in fee between the Sonoma-Mendocino County, Cal., border at NWP milepost 89 and Healdsburg, Cal., at NWP milepost 68.2; and (2) the freight rail operating easement between Healdsburg, at NWP milepost 68.2 and Lombard, Cal., at SP milepost 63.4.1

The verified notice states that SMART and NCRA have executed an agreement pursuant to which SMART will acquire the Line from NCRA, and that SMART will become the freight operator of the Line, using a noncarrier contract operator.

SMART certifies that its projected annual revenues as a result of this transaction will not exceed $5 million or the threshold required to qualify as a Class III carrier. SMART also certifies that the proposed acquisition and operation of the Line does not involve a provision or agreement that may limit future interchange with a third-party connecting carrier.
  by west point
Once Smart completes the transaction I propose the following. Inspect the rail line and then schedule a weekend excursion to as far as it can safely be operated. Either use the commuter cars or several coaches bracketed front and tail by light weight 4 axel units. A bunch of rail fans would be on board that could pass on suggestions as to where improvements might be needed.
  by Pensyfan19
Update from Railway Age

https://www.railwayage.com/freight/shor ... annel=news
Northern California’s Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) has assumed freight operations and common carrier duties from Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company in Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties, after acquiring right-of-way from the North Coast Railroad Authority.

The agency, which runs a 45-mile, 12-station DMU (diesel multiple-unit) passenger rail system from Larkspur north to Sonoma County Airport and has plans to expand further north approximately 25 miles to Cloverdale, acquired approximately 88 miles of right-of-way in March 2021 from North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) and the rights to operate it on July 11. Freight services have been provided by Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. (NWP) since 2011.

SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian said the agency will consider, during the next six months, two options for how it will continue to provide freight service—through an outside contractor, or in-house. In the interim, NWP will continue running the freight operations. NWP has served about five customers three times per week between Napa and Windsor, on 21 miles of line, since 2011.

SMART acquired the freight operations from NWP using $4 million provided by the state in 2020. The agency also received about $2 million to address an estimated $10 million in deferred maintenance for those operations. The funds were included in California Senate Bill 1029.
I do wonder what they're going to use for locomotives (new or purchased from NWP), and why they can't eventually expand all the way to Eureka.
  by electricron
Pensyfan19 wrote: Thu Jul 15, 2021 6:24 pm I do wonder what they're going to use for locomotives (new or purchased from NWP), and why they can't eventually expand all the way to Eureka.
Only Sonoma and Marin Counties have passed referendums to subsidize SMART train operations. To go further north, more counties will have to pass referendums to subsidize the train system.

No taxes + no subsidy = no train!
  • 1
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11