Discussion of railway linking Grass Valley, Nevada City, Colfax
#1 Jun 13, 2013
Railways are in the background in Placer County, and prominent in the legacy of GV/NC. But we have gotten removed by generations of rubber tire mentality from the idea of having rail oriented distribution and warehousing in medium size & smaller communities.
Even the mains running through towns all over the US seldom have even a siding where rail delivery and loading can be accomplished. Now freight is in containers or trucks, and trucking goes to all the places the rail either does not come near, or the railroad does not have actual load/unload for cargo. Auburn & Colfax are places without actual rail cargo platforms. So we are dependent on trucking for every item grown or manufactured in a remote place.
Al Bulf is a rare man, willing to spend many hours promoting a necessary category of infrastructure neither in vogue nor seen as necessary in the present status quo. He patiently describes railway technology in a room full of polite but unconvinced listeners pretty much out of tune with strategic railway requisites.
The military moniker for railway is "Second Dimension Surface Transport Logistics Platform" descriptive of railway in-house ability to maintain operations, and apolitical as to best route engineering, and order of recovery after disaster.
Current affairs in the world, particularly war drums in the Middle East oil patch signal possibility of motor fuel rationing, and ultimately, effectiveness of truck-based distribution. Rationing's affect on truck delivery schedules will greatly impact the "Just-In-Time stocking methodology we take for granted as owners or customers of businesses.
Local warehousing and large stock rooms in stores were knocked out by inventory taxes as the rail branch lines went away and road departments had more reason (and need for greatly expanded road funding)to make their respective highway systems more truck-friendly. It has worked very well, and only now are we seeing some warning signs to incrementally bring rail component back into local transport mode mix. A word to the wise...
Robust transport must include railway at local interface in light of world events, climate issues, and the huge backlog of highway bridges now becoming functionally obsolete, if not downright dangerous. Middle East newsfeed can be seen at Al-Monitor and DEBKAfile sites. M.E. war consequence papers by Anthony Cordesman and other think tank sources are warning of US Federal Executive Emergency Orders for Motor Fuel Allocation owing to US treaty commitment to assist allies severely impacted by Middle East oil flow disruption.
American Short Line Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) can supply applicable operating models for proposed GV/NV rail line connecting the Gold Country with Tahoe City to the northeast, and Maysville, Clear Lake & north coast points to the west. Christopher C. Swan "Suntrain Transportation Corporation" has computer graphics and route maps for the GV/NC railway upgrades.
Al Bulf should be more appreciated for his efforts; this must seen as a crucial & timely benefit for our region, not simply one man's dream!
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