WEB EXCLUSIVE: Roaring Camp may be interested in rail line
by Press Banner
Aug 28, 2008 | 257 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print


The county Regional Transportation

Commission’s new agreement to purchase Union Pacific Railroad’s

Santa Cruz branch line has piqued the interest of Roaring Camp

Railroads in Felton.



RTC officials announced recently that

they had negotiated a discounted price of $14.2 million for the line

from Davenport to Watsonville Junction in Pajaro. In Santa Cruz, the

line connects with Roaring Camp’s Santa Cruz, Big Trees &

Pacific line from Felton.



UP’s original asking price was $22

million. The new price will allow the RTC to set aside $5 million for

repairs to bridges and other structures when the purchase is

completed, probably by the end of the year, according to RTC

executive director George Dondero.



The RTC intends to find an operator to

handle the current freight traffic and add passenger service between

Aptos and Capitola. Roaring Camp, which operates tourist trains

between Felton and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, might be

interested.



“We would be most interested in

exploring all rail opportunities within the county,” said Paul

Nakamoto, the company’s director of business development. “Roaring

Camp Inc., has been running rail service in Santa Cruz County for the

past 45 years.”



But Nakamoto noted that the RTC hasn’t

asked for proposals yet, and it would be up to Roaring Camp’s board

of directors to decide to enter the competition. Several other rail

operators are expected to queue up when the time comes, including

Sierra Railroad Co., which runs tourist trains in three northern

California locations.

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