NORTH COAST RAILROAD
Ukiah, Ca 95482
510-915-2656 Executive Director Cellular
Mitch Stogner, Executive
Hemphill, NCRA Chairman
NCRA SELECTS OPERATOR
May 31, 2006 – North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) Chairman, Allan Hemphill,
today announced the rail authority’s selection of NWP Inc. to be its railroad
operator on the 316 mile line that parallels US Highway 101 between Eureka and Novato.
NWP Inc. is a soon-to-be
incorporated California company consisting of Woodside Consulting Group of Palo Alto, Evergreen Natural Resources of Oroville, and Berg
Holdings of Novato. Hemphill said that
NWP Inc.’s CEO will be John H. Williams, current President of the Woodside
Consulting Group. Hemphill said that Mr.
Williams was instrumental in the establishment of the Caltrain
rail service on the Peninsula and was the General Manager of the NCRA when it
operated freight trains on the Eel River Division of the NWP line in the mid-1990’s.
“This team has the rail
experience and the financial means to restore freight service on the North Coast,” said Hemphill.
Sonoma County District 4
Supervisor and NCRA Director, Paul Kelley said “as a long-time transportation
advocate for widening Highway 101, I am excited about adding freight service as
another transportation improvement.”
Kelley said that the return of rail service to Sonoma County is “good for the economy, good for the environment
and saves energy by removing hundreds of diesel trucks from 101.”
Kelley said that the goal is
to begin making repairs to the line this summer and to restore train operations
in phases “beginning at the point of interchange near Ignacio Blvd. and working north to Windsor.”
Hemphill said the initial
lease with NWP Inc. will be for train operations between Lombard (near Napa)
and Dos Rios (near Willits), with an option to add portions of the line through
the Eel River Canyon and up to Eureka.
“The future success of this
line is dependent on a rail connection to the Port of Humboldt Bay. We all understand that,” said Hemphill. He said the major commodities to be shipped
on the NWP line include municipal solid waste, rock, forest products and,
eventually, in-bound containers from the Port of Humboldt Bay.
“We are pleased to partner
with the NCRA and look forward to the successful reopening of the railroad as
quickly as possible. NWP is committed to
investing in this venture, as we are confident the time is right to return the
railroad to the profitability it enjoyed for many years. This line will be a strong economic factor
along the Northcoast,” said John Williams, CEO of NWP
Inc. Hemphill said that the NCRA and NWP
Inc. will negotiate the details of the lease and operating agreement over the
next 30-60 days.
The North Coast Railroad Authority
(NCRA) was formed in 1989 by the California Legislature under the North Coast Railroad Authority
Act, Government Code Section 93000, et seq.
The mission of the North Coast Railroad Authority
is to provide a unified & revitalized rail infrastructure meeting the
freight and passenger needs of the region; a first class service working in
partnership with others to build and sustain the economy of the region.