Article Last Updated:
Friday, January 31, 2003 - 3:58:30 PM MST

NCRA opens Ukiah office
By MARK HEDGES/The Daily Journal

The North Coast Railroad Authority has moved its office to Ukiah from Cloverdale.

NCRA's new location is on Talmage Road its temporary home until the historic Ukiah train depot is renovated and NCRA moves in there permanently.

"We were in the train station in Cloverdale on Highway 101," said Doug Christy, executive director of NCRA. "But that's going to be the future final stop for the Sonoma/Marin transit system one day."

Christy said what brought NCRA to Ukiah was his appointment to executive director in October. "I live in Ukiah," he explained, "and we've been in Sonoma County long enough and since NCRA is made up of three counties, Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt, it made a lot of sense."

As to the new location in the Talmage Business Park, Christy said "It's beautiful. We're down in Suite M down at the end, so I look out my window and see railroad tracks, which is a good thing. There's a lumber mill next to us, which is a nice rail shipper, so I feel right at home."

Christy was optimistic about the future of NCRA, which owns the stretch of railroad tracks from Healdsburg to Samoa.

He said NCRA's main emphasis is going to be freight and commuter service, "excursions through the wine country, Eel River Canyon, linking up with the Skunk Train. The Eel River Canyon is some of the most beautiful scenery in the world."

Christy said the neighboring rail district, the Sonoma Marin Area Transit Agency (SMART 2), will have a different emphasis of commuter/passenger rail, with its track stretching from Cloverdale to the Bay area.

The Talmage NCRA office will move to the Ukiah train depot when it is eventually remodeled and refurbished, Christy said.