Monday, April 21, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Preserve the railroad

EDITOR:

I wonder how many people realize how two or three men sitting on the Board of Supervisors, namely Nutting, Knight and Briggs, can have the power to do so much damage to the historic sites in El Dorado County! Our railroad, which runs through El Dorado and Sacramento Counties, is in danger of being ripped up, thanks to these three men. This railroad was the first railroad west of the Mississippi and should be preserved. Mr. Nutting has claimed to my face that he is in favor of the railroad, yet has voted every single time against keeping our railroad intact. He even has the nerve to wear the Western Railroad t-shirt out in public to show people he’s for the railroad. We are for the entire railroad, not just the section up where he lives.

The thing that is the saddest for me is that there was a washout on the rail a few years ago and the volunteers got an estimate of $100,000 to repair it. A group of the volunteers, headed by John Haverty, went to work and repaired that whole section of the railroad. They dug deep into their pockets to pay for it and it didn’t cost the County one cent. At one of the recent Board of Supervisors meetings, the board was asked for permission to ride the train down to Latrobe and back. They were denied — twice! Now, after all the money the workers paid out, and all the labor that went into fixing the washout, now they can’t even ride the train over what they fixed. Every person in El Dorado County should know what these three men did to our historic railroad.

Last weekend we had a “Rail Fest” and for the entire weekend, the train went back and forth fully loaded with people anxious to ride, going just down to the County line and back. People who heard our story were furious when they heard about it. Maybe now we can do something to stop these three men from doing what they are doing.

ELINOR RETALLACK
El Dorado Hills

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 6 comments

  • 1036-FrankOctober 12, 2012 - 8:36 am

    At least Knight was voted out and the new guy does support the history of this county and has said he supports the railroad. The others on the BOS view everything as to how it can benefit them and there is a battle over what entity owns the control of the tracks and what their use should be. The three stooges on the BOS appear to still be angry over the fact the JPA would deny their attempt to gut the tracks for the trails pipe dream. The BOS temper tantrum is to deny the use of the tracks to Latrobe it looks like as some kind of political game. The rails have been around a long time and will outlast these three BOS stooges by another hundred years at least.

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  • LMAOOctober 15, 2012 - 7:58 pm

    This is the same tired song. The good folks running the rail line between Diamond and Shingle are more than happy with the rails (and the work) they secured over the last few years of negotiation. The section from Shingle down is destined to become a multi-use trail, for the benefit of thousands of locals and visitors alike in the years to come. The JPA is a relic, and in time, the County will see that it is a bad relationship. The data is out there, and has been articulated rather well by the Trail camp, as well as citizens at large in previous board meetings. Can't stop this type of progress, and while the rails are indeed a wonderful legacy, they will disappear in time, just like the the Stooges down in Folsom!!!

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  • Phillip VeerkampOctober 15, 2012 - 8:33 pm

    San Francisco 7 - St. Louis 1 - - - GO GIANTS!!!

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  • Jackye PhillipsOctober 16, 2012 - 9:13 pm

    El Dorado County is a county of many firsts in the history of the State of California. Obviously the gold rush being the catalyst for all to come. We have a responsibility to those that came before us, to honor them and their hard work and dreams. To those that follow to preserve this history, for them, after all once gone, it’s gone forever. We cannot replace, recreate or remanufacture the treasure of history. And yet, there are those who seek to rip out and destroy a “first” for El Dorado County, the State of California, the Nation. We build a replica of Sutters Mill, we have the first two identified historical buildings in the state with plaque’s on them downtown, we have a branch with a dummy hanging from it to remind us of our “Hangtown” history. How many roadside markers are there, how many markers in the woods for example “Zumwalt” and long gone mills. Yet we seek to destroy a landmark, another first for El Dorado County, the history of the first rail road west of the Mississippi. The vision and hard work to bring the railroad to a small little rural county had to have been massive. That rail road carried the riches and history of El Dorado County to not just the Sacramento Valley, but to the world. How many places did those engines stop to take on water or fuel?? How many stops were along the way for mail, for passengers, lumber, ranch products to the valley. What did that little railroad bring back to El Dorado County and the people who lived here. I can’t begin to imagine the pride those folks had, imagine the first railroad west of the Mississippi!! We’ve got Placerville Hardware, oldest hardware store west of the Mississippi, we’ve got the Mt. Democrat California’s Oldest Newspaper. Should we destroy them also? We’ve got the first rail road west of the Mississippi, surely it deserves the recognition we’ve bestowed on so many other historical sites and events.

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  • Jim HarvilleOctober 21, 2012 - 10:38 pm

    Just a few rebuttals to the comments made by LMAO... First of all, while the El Dorado Western does not seek to expand their operations any further west than Shingle Springs, they in no way support the destruction of the remaining track, and instead support "Rails WITH Trails" for the corridor. If you doubt this, I suggest you attend one of their board meetings and ask them to formally endorse the "Shingle Plan", which is what you imply with your comment. Good luck with that... I agree with your second claim that Shingle Springs to County Line is "destined" to become a multi-use trail, but with the caveat that it will SHARE the corridor with the railroad as part of the "Rails WITH Trails Vision" outlined in the Parks and Recreation Commission resolution of January 19th, 2012. Your opinions regarding the JPA are interesting, but irrelevant. I have heard the trails arguments for dissolving the JPA, and they are wishful thinking, at best. Having spent time discussing these arguments with attorneys from the EDC county counsel's office, the JPA itself, and even the attorneys who drafted the original documents, I can assure you that the SPTC-JPA will exist long after you and I are gone from this earth! As far as the "data" articulated by the trails camp, no one is saying a trail is a bad thing! Your argument that the railroad MUST be destroyed to achieve your goal is what is opposed by the greater community! And make no mistake, the "Trails Camp" you refer to is outnumbered at EVERY Supervisor's Meeting by those who want both sides to share, sometimes by 2-1 or more! Finally, I cannot properly rebutt your "Stooges" comment without more information. Are you referring to the other Member Agencies, who have legal and legitimate reciprocal rights over this jointly held property? Or is it the many El Dorado County residents who travel to Folsom two or more times a week to do their part in developing this railroad to it's fullest potential? Working shoulder to shoulder with folks from Woodland, Lincoln, and even Tahoe, these people get pretty irritated when you keep calling them "Those Folsom Train Guys"! (but I guess that's better than "stooges"...) Anyhow, my advice to you is to use your real name, get some real facts, and develop a real perspective on the future of this railroad corridor.

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  • Jim HarvilleOctober 21, 2012 - 10:44 pm

    Doh! Mt Democrat doesn't believe in paragraphs in the comments any more! (this really messes with my flow, man!) ;)

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