California officials look to form a committee on North Coast freight service

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Northwestern Pacific MP15DC No. 1501 leads RP20BD No. 2009 south at Petaluma, Calif., in June 2016. The line is under North Coast Railroad Authority oversight.
Ben Margherone
EUREKA, Calif. – Regulators in California are calling on the legislature to form a committee to look at the North Coast Railroad Authority and its ability to restore freight service on more 250 miles of track in the northern part of the state, the Eureka Times-Standard reports.

State regulators have grown concerned in recent months about the stability of the Authority, the rail authority that has overseen 320 miles of state-owned track, especially after it ran a $200,000 deficit earlier this year and was unable to pay employees on time. While the rail authority was created by the legislature in 1989 it was never fully funded and instead relies on grants.

The Authority’s executive director said the formation of a state committee would be beneficial to the authority. “We’ve been trying to get the state to embrace us for a long, long time,” says Executive Director Mitch. “This is an opportunity for them to embrace us, own us and support us.”

The only section of Authority track that is used for freight service is 60 miles between Schellville and Windsor, operated by the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit also operates commuter rail service between the Sonoma County Airport to downtown San Rafael.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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