Hostage crisis afoot ("The Disappearing Railroad Blues," May 16). The victims? Public-trust resources including a degraded river, a "ye-old" transportation corridor helping degrade said river, and the public. All victims are borderline comatose with multiple internal injuries leading to massive bleeding of soil, money and lost opportunity. Local agency and organization staffers work hard, too hard and with too few resources, to free the hostages and treat said victims. Riveting — not. More like bad TV. This crisis needs a SWAT team from Sacramento with backing from Congress, something, before we all die of old age. Wes, Noreen, Jared, you getting all this? How 'bout you, Gov?
Chris Turner, Arcata
This was to me the best article regarding the North Coast railroad situation that I have seen since my retirement from my day job. The article accurately depicts the situation as I was exposed to them during my work years. Southern Pacific (NWP) really abandoned the system shortly after the 1964 flood. They essentially gave up maintenance at that point and spent very little resources to keep it up. The photos in the article by Mr. Burns are a typical example of the situation even as it existed after the 1964 flood. Upon the abandonment of the railroad by Southern Pacific, the private ownership that followed didn't last too long and they devoted even less effort to maintaining it. Again, I think Mr. Burns has very accurately depicted the situation as it existed and as it exists now. That railroad cannot ever be restored in the Eel River Canyon because the right of way of the railroad is not sufficient to rebuild it consistent with current standards.
Don Raffaelli, Eureka