El Dorado County Supervisors expressed a three-votes-to-two lack of interest in allowing or promoting a Folsom-based excursion train to advance into the western regions of the county.
During a special board meeting Monday, Sept. 24, Ray Nutting, Ron Briggs and John Knight consistently voted to deny a specialty rail company access into the county. The Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad, a non-profit history and railroading organization, has tried for several years to gain an extension for its excursion trains into the foothills.
Board Chairman Knight recommended two agenda items concerning the train issue. First, he urged his colleagues not to renew the license agreement with the P&SVRR for excursion train operations. Second, he suggested the board “Consider taking action to dissolve the Sacramento Placerville Transportation Corridor Joint Powers Authority (SPTC JPA).”
The three supervisors agreed and the license agreement was rejected.
Knight’s second motion resulted in the same three to two vote to send a letter to the Joint Powers Authority to “consider dissolving” that organization. Knight had already written that letter which was included in the board’s documents packet for the special meeting.
Jack Sweeney and Norma Santiago held out for a different version of the license agreement and also opposed the notion of the letter recommending dissolution of the JPA. They lost both votes.
Cutting out the Sacramento County-based excursion rail interest opened the door for a more homegrown railroad and hiking trail collaboration.
The El Dorado Western Railroad, a sub-branch of the El Dorado County Historical Society under the auspices of the county library has been promoting its own excursion train between Shingle Springs and Diamond Springs. That group has led the development of the historical rail park in the town of El Dorado.
Meanwhile the Friends of the El Dorado Trail have pushed for a more limited array of railroad operations along the Sacramento-Placerville Transportation Corridor. More than two years ago county supervisors memorialized their intention to declare the corridor first and foremost for hiking, biking and equestrian use. Later, they adopted the so-called Shingle Compromise in March 2011.
That compromise extended the railroading part of the trail to Shingle Springs and provided for “multi-use” of the stretch between there and Missouri Flat Road.
The El Dorado Community Foundation has allied with the two local groups “to create a common direction and purpose,” Foundation Director Bill Roby wrote in an August letter to the board. He noted that discussions have led toward a “joint use agreement” that “is being formalized on how these two groups, who have been at opposing points, have come together for the good of El Dorado County.”
“The joint use agreement is being constructed and will be presented to the board of supervisors as a joint resolution,” Roby explained.
Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or [email protected] Follow @CDaleyMtDemo.