Thursday, June 11, 2009
NCRA Announces Lombard-Windsor Reconstruction Progress
As with the June 10 gathering in Healdsburg pictured above, the North Coast Railroad Authority encourages public attendance and participation at its monthly meetings. Check the authority’s website for meeting dates and locations (these rotate between Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Humboldt counties), agendas and associated public documents, and minutes from past meetings (Christian Goepel photo).
At the monthly North Coast Railroad Authority meeting held in Healdsburg yesterday (June 10), NCRA Project Manager Dave Anderson reported that reconstruction of the 62 miles of Northwestern Pacific mainline infrastructure between Lombard and Windsor by contractors is on schedule.
He said that over 40,000 new ties allocated for the 25-mile Lombard-Ignacio segment would be inserted by Balfour Beatty by the end of the week. The next phase of track reconstruction involves the installation of 10,000 new ties on the 37-mile Ignacio-Windsor segment, which will eventually be shared with Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit commuter trains.
But, according to Anderson, there are other projects that must be tackled before freight service returns. Cooper Crane and Ghilotti Brothers will complete repairs to bridges at Schell Creek near Schellville and Novato Creek near Ignacio (there are two bridges over this waterway; the northern crossing at milepost 26.93 in Novato has already been repaired). In addition, Mass Electric will ready signals at three Petaluma grade crossings, State Highway 37 at Sears Point, and State Highway 121 at Schellville.
The NCRA must gain approval from the Federal Railroad Administration before designated operator John Williams and the Northwestern Pacific can commence operations this fall.
“They were very pleased with what they saw,” Anderson said of the recent response from FRA inspectors. “We’ve appropriately addressed issues in Emergency Order No. 21.”
Issued by the FRA, the order took effect on November 27, 1998, in response to public safety and non-compliance issues on the railroad. It called for the discontinuation of service “until the NWP inspects and properly repairs its track and grade crossing signals, and it trains its employees how to properly maintain the safety of its track and grade crossing signals.”