OMG it’s the “Zombie” Crazy Train

crazy train

KIEM TV-3 HUMBOLDT COUNTY – The East-West rail line has some new life. Caltrans District 2 awarded more than $275,000 to Trinity County for a feasibility study on the project. Transportation officials will study costs associated with building, maintaining and operating a rail line between Humboldt Bay and inland communities.

It’s been all quiet for the last seven months since the Crazy Train advocates had their asses handed to them in the Harbor district elections. Just when you thought it was safe to go ahead on and deal with the “legitimate” issues around here like the Green Rush, the Homeless crisis, the crime wave…..we could go on and on. No we’ll have to devote a a bunch of energy monitoring this so called “feasibility” that Trinity County got $276,000 to complete. We have to watch closely or they’ll hire some Arkley flunkey to do the study which of course would conclude that there’ll be no harm to the environment and we’ll all become millionaires.

Too bad this money couldn’t be used for safety improvements on Hwy 36 or 299

We have posted about this boondoggle in the past check them out:

The Crazy Train versus Mariculture and Recreation

Linda Atkins finally has had enough; takes on the Crazy Train advocates.

Here comes the Crazy Train again, this time with OIL!

Let’s all go off the rails on a CRAZY TRAIN!

If you can’t beat ’em, then sue ‘em


40 thoughts on “OMG it’s the “Zombie” Crazy Train

  1. The E-W line will never pencil out. The enormously more useful N-S line will cost half a billion to repair. Even so, it would be a far better investment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What’s even more interesting is WHY and with WHO’s money Cal Trans is funding this Last Train To Clucksville?

    Is this California tax money Cal Trans is diverting? Is it interest proceeds from some self created (as in no tax monies invested) grant fund Cal Trans administers?

    At a time when Cal Fire is cutting back on it’s grant funding to non-profit fire safe councils – crappy timing, but they are concerned about a possible fire tax/fee reversal – another state agency appears to have surplus cash to throw around.

    I’d like to know why Cal Trans decided to do this. What was the criteria? Seems obvious someone asked Cal Trans for it. Hope it wasn’t a brother-in-law or golf buddy.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “the Green Rush, the Homeless crisis, the crime wave…” Actually, this has everything to do with those, and pretty much in that order too. They’re just thinking a bit further ahead.

    Our current economy is seriously boosted by money being brought into the area from marijuana sales. Soon after the “green rush” there will, like every other rush in history, be a decline. Prices will fall. Major corporations will drive prices into the ground. And it won’t be up here. HumCo has even sealed the deal by putting an arbitrary tax based on square footage instead of value sold, guaranteeing the area’s relevance to marijuana cultivation will soon end.

    Guess what happens when that money all goes away? There won’t be any tax dollars to provide services for the homeless. Even ignoring the issue of why people think we should give stuff to parasites who refuse to work, there won’t be any money anyway. People won’t be buying new dodges, truckloads of soil, and stupidly overpriced land. And with the decline of tax dollars preventing services from being provided to the homeless, there will also be a huge influx of homeless people, as many of the people with incomes dependent on the marijuana industry will find themselves unable to pay the rent.

    And some of those people unable to pay the rent will turn to crime, creating an even larger crime wave.

    One thing that can help prevent this scenario is transitioning to non-marijuana industries. Actual production. Manufacturing, mining, fishing, logging, shipping, and so forth. Turns out that despite what certain populations around here claim, industry is a good thing, not an evil. Industry creates jobs, pays taxes, and keeps an area alive.

    The people supporting the train are looking beyond the end of their noses, and realizing that the area needs real industry. Marijuana is going away, and we need to get working on a replacement before we end up too far in the hole to get back out. The ability to cheaply, efficiently, and safely move large quantities of goods in and out of the area is something they see as a boon to industry, and thus a good step forwards.

    Trains are still the most economical means of land transport for large quantities of goods – the pollution, fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, leaked fluids, rubber particles, etc, are all far, far lower than trucking, as well as needing a much smaller right of way compared to a freeway with far less disruption to wildlife.

    Now, do I agree with the east-west train route? I’m not sure. I can’t imagine building a new route from scratch will give a cost savings over rehabilitating the current route. Nor am I sure trains are superior to trucking and ocean-going barges given the size of the area. Of course, if we protest every attempt at widening the freeways, trucking is always going to be a fallback option, not a primary option.

    Fortunately, that’s what a feasibility study is for. People who know far more about constructing and maintaining tracks than I do will look at potential routes, and give an informed opinion on whether the east-west route is a good solution.

    And even if they decide it’s a bad solution, and it never gets built, it still shows that some people have the sense to think about the long term, and the plans needed to make sure the area survives into the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bushytails:

      Two problems with what you have said here:

      First — There has already been a study done on this subject… That’s where the billion dollar price tag we talk about comes from. This is simply an example of people not liking the answer the first time around and hoping spending more money on another study will get them a different answer. If the study is honest, they won’t.

      Second — Fantasy is not industry (unless you are Walt Disney). And given the first point, the East/West Railroad is exactly that, Fantasy.

      I understand the desperation to fill the economic gap that will possibly come with marijuana legalization. But hitching our economic hopes to unrealistic solutions really won’t help us out of the mess we are in now.

      What harm this does do is instead of investing in possible reasonable solutions our focus is stuck on this hamster wheel of a bad idea, pouring good money after bad. The funding for this study isn’t free… we all paid for it through our taxes. I have to agree that there are far better uses for those tax dollars.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It is obvious that you need to contain yourself in your basement but take better care of yourself, you’re talking in the same old lame rhetoric. And do something about that whining.


    • Transitioning to logging, fishing, mining, shipping? Let’s look to the future, not the past. Those ships have sailed and ain’t coming back.


      • You might note I listed manufacturing first. Any area can host manufacturing, provided it has connections to the rest of the world, and a willing workforce.

        We still have logging, just less of it. We’ll continue to have less and less as the protesters, all of whom invariably live in timber-framed hoses, continue to object to it. They tend to be the same type who also object to trade agreements by writing blog posts on made-in-china devices and otherwise don’t actually do anything they preach…

        Shipping requires a port, which is a whole ‘nother discussion.

        If you don’t think we’re going to have manufacturing, shipping, logging, fishing, or anything else, what _do_ you see becoming of this area? An area with no industry becomes a ghost town. It’s sure not going to be marijuana – once the price crashes, production will move to much more agriculture-friendly areas, even without the county’s tax that guarantees its death anyway.

        A community has to have money coming into it to survive, which invariably means it has to export something to other areas. We have a timber, a natural resource, but that won’t keep the area afloat. Once money stops coming in from marijuana sales, we have to be ready to start shipping something else out, or the county will decline rapidly.

        Now, as I said, I don’t know if an east-west railroad will help with this. I really have a hard time seeing creating a new route as being cheaper than rehabilitating the old one, and a quick drive up 36 will show you it’ll cost just as much to maintain as the old one… but I don’t object to experts on the subject being paid to evaluate this.


      • Bushytails:

        In one respect we are in total agreement… We need to figure out what to do next.

        The problem is nearly $300k in tax money is being spent to study something that patently will never work.

        If we were to spend the money on a study to determine what IS possible to work, I would have absolutely no objection. That’s why I say this scheme does more harm than good. How often does someone pass out serious money… only then to have it squandered like this?

        Frankly, we don’t come off as responsible adults for doing this.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My, my, another ego driven pie in the sky, that surely will never fly. What a waste of time and money. Is Arkley riding in the caboose whipping on his foot soldiers up front? Who is on this train, running on pure pent up crazy steam? Could an X city manager be in the tender shoveling coal as fast as he can to keep the engine running? And will the real engineer please sit down, or go to the club car, or take a nap in the sleeper.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 100 years ago it made perfect time sense to build a railroad going South and export our resources to a major city. Trains must make money coming and going. Today, markets exist on either side of Humboldt: Asia and the Pacific Rim on one side and the Midwest and fertile Sac Valley on the other. Rebuilding a line to an already congested market no longer makes sense. Opening up access to markets allows Humboldt to be a player on the global market without being colonized by resource extraction profiteers. The Harbor Districts study was a joke. They spent may be $20k on a study that didn’t factor goods imported and exported. If you have read it you would know that anyone with a brain wouldn’t take it seriously. Having an industry here that is all about moving goods without polluting and creating jobs for families, that don’t include pot, sounds like the best news we’ve had in a long time. Quit your whining!


    • Wily Run:

      Fair enough. Please just point out what you considered “lame” about what I said to Busytails and then we can talk.

      And while we are at it, you can also tell me (since you are familiar with the original study) just what made it a “joke.”

      I backed my lame rhetoric with arguments based on fact and logic (despite my alleged unhealthy basement lifestyle). Perhaps you should try to do the same.

      And… Try a little respect. You may earn some in return. Just a thought.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mola, it was based on biased assumptions and you need to read it with a critical eye. Assumptions like commerce only in one direction. No other revenue streams. And how did they arrive at a course? Lastly, how in depth can a $20k study actually be? They wanted a study to kill any future consideration of a harbor served by rail. Why would that be? The majority of harbor district abhors the thought of reestablishing rail service and wants no industry or shipping but is working to set up industrial pot grows on the Peninsula. I know we can do better. We need to take the time and an adequate amount of money to do an independent, unbiased study to determine whether or not a rail line could be viable going East to west.


  7. The Examiner isn’t allowing my post. If I could I would challenge Mola…. it was based on biased assumptions and you need to read it with a critical eye. Assumptions like commerce only in one direction. No other revenue streams. And how did they arrive at a course? Lastly, how in depth can a $20k study actually be? They wanted a study to kill any future consideration of a harbor served by rail. Why would that be? The majority of harbor district abhors the thought of reestablishing rail service and wants no industry or shipping but is working to set up industrial pot grows on the Peninsula. I know we can do better. We need to take the time and an adequate amount of money to do an independent, unbiased study to determine whether or not a rail line could be viable going East to west.


  8. Willy Run:

    I appreciate your response.

    How does one get past the billion dollar price tag? How does one get past the huge on-going maintenance costs?

    How does spending more than 10 times the money of the original study on a new study change that out come? The original study did what it needed to do… blow the fresh air of reality on a foolish plan. That study looked at the basic premises of the East/West railroad idea and found them lacking. That was all that was necessary.

    Hauling almonds or coal or gizmos in exchange for what we get from China does not change the basic fact… The East/West railroad can not pay for itself. If you have heard that before then I am sorry to be so tedious. I am constrained by the Truth.

    Which of course does not fetter the E/W folks one iota.

    First and foremost you would need to prove beyond reasonable doubt(s) that the system can indeed pay for itself. Otherwise, in a generation or less we all will be left with something that looks very much like the present North/South rail bed.

    We already have a transportation disaster on our hands… We do not need to spend a billion dollars to create a new one.

    As for growing pot on the peninsula… Far better there than in the woods (or what’s left of them after the green-rushers get done with them).

    If it gives you any comfort… Sometimes the Tuluwat Examiner puts me on moderation too. I wouldn’t take it so hard.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. No one in their right mind would try to build a railroad from the valley to Humboldt, with a one billion dollar price tag. Some of you folks have your head in the clouds. Local product resources are badly depleted, The harbor sits empty except for the gasoline barges, so not much chance of getting another 1/2 billion to be a modern working harbor and port facility. If you are going to have a railroad, the port is the real link to Asia and beyond. Anybody want to adopt a middle easten prince? America”s only prince just died. What has addled your brain. Just a thought but why not tap in to Humbolt’s 2nd largest (igsisting

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Got lost for a moment in the Bloglines. To continue, the second largest industry is tourism..Build on that. It certainly wouldn’t cost a billion. Humboldt has some of the most beautiful forest,rivers, and coast in the USA. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.


    • Few people can raise a family on minimum wage jobs that are seasonal, that is why we have so many trimmers. We need a wheel period. Go back to the 1400s and keep your nice little world flat.


  11. So all the restaurant owners and workers, the retailers, the motels, the car repair places, the fishing charters, the white water businesses, the tow trucks who help stranded motorists, the national and state park personnel, the grocery stores, all benefit and stay open because of tourism?. The list can go on and on and keep in mind the thousands of people that derive part or all of their income from tourism. Before I retired, over half of my business was directly related to tourism. I kept five people employed full time all year long. Don’t be short sighted about tourism. It is one of the corner stone wheels that keeps Humboldt’s economy going. Why do you think the county and city put hundreds of thousand of dollars into the CVB every year? Because they are effective in bringing people here, year after year.


  12. Willy Run, you mentioned the pot trimmers. They are in large part seasonal workers who who come from else where to trim. They have cleaned for the same owners for years. I have known many of them and they come from all over the US, yes, as far away as Hawaii. The rest of the year they are your waiters and waitresses, your back yard mechanics, etc. I know some who own their own homes. So lets not be so quick to judge.


  13. “100 years ago it made perfect time sense to build a railroad…” (Willy Run).

    40 years from now when fuel is prohibitively expensive and temperatures have thousands migrating north, residents will be wishing they had a railroad.

    Tri-Met in Portland recently spent $1 billion simply adding an additional rail line.

    100 years ago when cars and fuel were unreliable and expensive, most cities had good public transportation, even Eureka had electric rail cars to get downtown. They knew back then where oil came from and that it would inevitably deplete.

    The oil/auto industries should be the ones to begin replacing the old public transportation systems that their conspiracy destroyed.

    Sooner than we think, a rail system will be most people’s only affordable way in or out of here.

    Trying to insure that local elites don’t rig the construction for personal gain or plan to haul dangerous materials, is a huge challenge, if you know your local elites…


  14. actually, the economic way in & out of here after the fossil fuels run out will be via sail.


    • Indeed.

      Anything requiring steel will need oil or coal to manufacture. Even a narrow-gauge train like they use in India will become increasingly costly.

      By then, a less-populated Humboldt County will have had to become economically self-sufficient as it was in its production and export of grains over 100 years ago.

      Our species’ arrogance always puts things off until “tomorrow”. Humanity has risen to the challenge of those “tomorrows” so far.

      However, can we change as fast as the climate appears to be?


  15. The members of the East West Rail group are pleased that the Harbor Commission has voted, 5-0 to ear mark, in their new budget $10,000 to assist in the matching funds for the feasibility study. This decision was unsolicited, and took the group by surprise.


  16. I’ll bet it took took them by surprise, I doubt it. They all know each other. PREDICTION: Nothing is going to change on the train idea, either north\south or east\west. It has little financial reward for money spent and the terrain is unstable in both directions. It will be another 25 years of talk, talk, and no action, except for big money on studies.


    • It is pretty obvious you have all the answers, but if anyone else has any questions, just click on my name and it will take you to the East West Rail Blog. I will make sure all questions are answered.


      • eastwestrailroad:

        The questions are here. Why not answer them here?


      • Sorry Monte but we’re going to ask it on this blog.
        How are you going to find a route through all that critical NSO habitat?
        Most of the Shasta-Trinity is critical habitat for Owls and fishers.


  17. The crazy part is the number of people who are afraid of a booming economy in Humboldt County. The East West rail, and the development of our Port would enable current and future local businesses to flourish. Yakima Racks left due to the lack of a rail, according to an article in the Northcoast Journal.. Imagine if just that one business were still here. A connection to the national rail would eliminate the competitive disadvantage of local merchants. People shop out of town because prices are so much better in places like Medford and Redding, which are served by rail. It is really crazy to economic opportunity


  18. Gail, there is nothing that would aid the local economy more than being connected to national and world wide markets. However, how do you get over the massive hurdles of building rail and port? It has been studied for longer than I can remember, and no study has met the test of do ability. I hope it can be figured out and the many billions of dollars necessary to do it be found. It all comes down to federal money and a national will to make it happen. What do you think the REAL possibilities are?


  19. I am not aware of any study of development of the port which includes a connection to the national rail. If one has been done, please tell me where to find it. I have seen the study the Harbor District did. It presumed that the train would only haul bulk cargo, and that every train would arrive in the bay full, and then leave empty. They presumed that nothing would be imported. Why would anyone do a study based on those presumptions? I can only think of one reason, and that is to try to prove it to be infeasible. Our port is such a blank slate now, we have the potential to create a state of the art, green port. I want to know what is possible.


  20. There is absolutely no reason for you to be sorry T.E.
    The main thing is the questions are answered. Here are some questions that I have been getting.
    Is the route really going to run through the Trinity Alps?
    Why is the East West route better than the North South route?
    Is it true that the East West advocates are a bunch of rich guys that own property along the proposed route?
    Why not answer them here?
    How are you going to find a route through all that critical NSO habitat?
    As to where to answer the questions, it really makes no difference to me, except I will not answer them in comments. It seems like they always turn into a food fight.
    I can answer them on the East West blog, or if you allow me, I can write a article to be published un-edited here.


  21. Tuluwat please do let eastwest write an article here. I want to see the answers to those questions.


  22. “A connection to the national rail would eliminate the competitive disadvantage of local merchants.”

    Not as long as foreign children are working for a dollar a day to make our products, grow and harvest our food, and the trillions of dollars in multinational’s sales are not taxed while U.S. infrastructure, education and healthcare are divested.

    Plus, foreign nationals now own over half of most major U.S. industries.

    With or without a rail, business “disadvantage” is an understatement.


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