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Not That Gravel!

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Editor:

I must commend Mr. Sims on his colorful wit and vivid imagination, reflected in the Town Dandy piece (Jan. 15).

We love to hate that Railroad Tycoon that now “runs the NCRA,” and finally “came clean” about using the tracks that run through Supervisor Clendenen’s “domain”! (Sounds like a B western movie plot!) I assume he took the time to read the short haul proposal that the beleaguered operator of the NWP, Mr. Williams, sent to the North Coast Railroad Authority Board. Nowhere does it say anything about gravel extraction on the Wild and Scenic Eel River.

Could we also imagine that another commodity to ship on the resurrected rail will be 500-pound bales of fresh buds bound for the Far East? Six thousand freight cars moved in 200 days, equals 30 cars a day. Seriously, if we could get a small percentage of stimulus money (less than 20 million) to invest in rail restoration and crossing upgrades, we could eventually get the passenger excursion train running from Samoa to College of the Redwoods.

I bet even a diehard bike rider would not be opposed to catching a ride between Eureka and Arcata on a rainy day.

— Sid Berg, Eureka

Ed. reply: Perhaps Mr. Berg is aware of some potential alternative source of gravel in the Eel River Valley. A new quarry in the Scotia Bluffs? Genetically modified cattle? Hey, let’s dream a little!

Until such time as the bovine geneticists finish their work, though, NWP Inc.’s proposed 6,000 cars worth of aggregate must be taken from the beds of the Eel and Van Duzen, as gravel has been for decades.

Also, it must be noted that Mr. Berg’s dream train to CR is a step further than even the perpetually optimistic NWP Inc. is willing to go. In the letter referenced, NWP’s John Williams talks only of opening a tourist train as far south as Eureka.

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