November 06, 2008




Placerville Branch
Quick Info:
States: California
Railroads: SP
Thanks to Mike Palmer for providing the information for this article.

The remnants of the wye that connected the Southern Pacific's Folsom Branch to its Placerville Branch. (March 2005)

This line connected to the SP Folsom branch with a wye at Natoma, a few miles west of Folsom. The line had a windy route through the foothills to the town of Placerville. The eastern end of the branch connected with the shortline Camino Placerville & Lake Tahoe, which extended east from Placerville to Camino.
The line was used to haul forest products, and was in service until approximately the 1980s. Much of the western line is still intact, though it is no longer connected to the national rail network.

While not technically and officially "abandoned" due to Rail Banking, the current route is under the contract with the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad, who is in the process of restoring the line on which to run excursions using equipment from the California State Railroad Museum. More information can be found at the link below.
Other Sites and Information
Restoration efforts of the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad


9:30 A.M., MONDAY,OCTOBER 6, 2008
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ROLL CALL Chair Jack Sweeney and Directors Don Nottoli, David Sander, Linda Budge, and Kerri Howell Respective Alternates: Helen Baumann, Roberta Mac Glashan and Don Nottoli

1. Conference with Real Property Negotiators Pursuant to Government Code 54956.8 for Lease of a Portion of the Placerville Branch for Excursion Rail Operations:
Property: A portion of the Placerville Branch railroad right-of-way extending from the Folsom Wye to Latrobe
SPTC-JPA Negotiators: John Segerdell, CEO
Tom Garcia, Deputy CEO (City of Folsom)
Tammy Urquhart (County of Sacramento)
Jordan Postlewait (County of El Dorado)
Fred Arnold (SRTD)
Kirk Trost, General Counsel
Negotiating Parties: SPTC-JPA and the Folsom, El Dorado & Sacramento Historical Railroad Association
Under Negotiation: Price and terms

3. Information: Presentation of Corridor Inventory and Inspection Report:
Don Dali of Hatch Mott MacDonald (formerly Rail Technology, Inc.) presented a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the Corridor Inventory and Inspection Report prepared by his team in March 2008.
8.4.08 1
4. Motion: Authorizing JPA Staff to Negotiate Lease for Excursion Rail Operations:
CEO John Segerdell presented JPA Staff's findings with respect to the proposals for excursion rail operations submitted by Pan-American Railway and the Folsom, El Dorado & Sacramento Historical Railroad Association (FEDS), along with Staff's recommendation that the Board authorize Staff to negotiate a lease with the FEDS. Various members of the audience spoke in favor of Staff's recommendation; no speakers opposed the recommendation. Upon motion and second, the Board voted unanimously to authorize JPA Staff to commence discussions with the FEDS, the City of Folsom and the Counties of Sacramento and El Dorado, in order to determine the feasibility of one or both of the operations proposed under the FEDS’ Basic Plan and, ultimately, to negotiate a lease of a portion of the rail line, subject to approval by the affected member agencies and the JPA Board of Directors.
5. Resolution: Approving the FY 2008/2009 Operating Budget:
CEO John Segerdell presented the proposed FY 2008/2009 Operating Budget. Mr. Segerdell advised the Board that the Operating Budget requires a drawdown in the SPTC-JPA reserves and does not include much room for contingencies, due to the inability of the SPTC-JPA member agencies to increase their contributions in the current fiscal year. Upon motion and second, the Board voted unanimously to adopt a Resolution approving the FY 2008/2009 Operating Budget presented at the meeting.
6. Resolution: Authorizing Execution of Amendments to Contracts for Professional Services:
Upon motion and second, the Board voted unanimously to adopt a Resolution authorizing execution of amendments to contracts with PGH Wong Engineering Inc., Miller Owen & Trost, and Fehr & Peers, substantially in the form presented at the meeting.
7. Information: CEO/Member Agency Reports:
No reports were given at the meeting.
An announcement was made concerning the Trails Now grand opening gala of the Parkway Drive - to - Los Trampas Drive section of the El Dorado Trail on June 7th.
The meeting adjourned at 11:10 a.m.
8.4.08 2 STAFF REPORT Board Meeting Date: October 6, 2008 Page 1 RESOLUTION: Authorizing Execution of Nonbinding Letter of Intent for Excursion Rail Operations AGENDA ITEM NO. 2 SACRAMENTO-PLACERVILLE TRANSPORTATION CORRIDOR JOINT POWERS AUTHORITY
At the January 7, 2008, JPA Board Meeting, the Board authorized JPA Staff to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Excursion Rail Services (ERS). The RFP was issued on January 28, 2008, and JPA Staff received two proposals on March 26, 2008. One proposal was submitted by the Folsom, El Dorado & Sacramento Historical Railroad Association (FEDS) and one by the Pan-American Railway (Pan-Am) from Hayden, Idaho.
On May 12, 2008, the JPA Board approved a motion to authorize JPA Staff to commence discussions with the FEDS, the City of Folsom and the Counties of Sacramento and El Dorado to determine the feasibility of one or both of the operations proposed under the FEDS’ Basic Plan, and to ultimately negotiate a lease with the FEDS for a portion of the rail line, subject to approval by the affected member agencies and the JPA Board of Directors.
Subsequent to the 5/12/08 Board action, JPA Staff has held several meetings with the FEDS to initiate the planning and lease negotiations for the aforementioned services. Staff has also reviewed the basic concepts of the FEDS’ plans with the Folsom City Council. Presentations have not yet been made to the Board of Supervisors for El Dorado and Sacramento Counties.
It has been determined that in order for the FEDS to commence negotiations with potential lenders and further refine their operating plans, the parties need to outline the basic parameters of the proposed lease in a nonbinding Letter of Intent (LOI). Such a document will give credibility to the FEDS’ excursion rail proposal for their talks with various institutions, including financial, governmental, and regulatory agencies. A draft LOI has been reviewed and discussions held between the JPA’s ERS Committee (Chair Sweeney and Director Howell), the JPA Staff and executive members of the FEDS and their legal counsel. It is felt that the form of the LOI being presented for JPA Board approval is protective of the JPA’s interests while providing the necessary commitments for the FEDS to pursue and perfect their proposed excursion rail operation.


Testimony of Rails to Trails Conservancy
Before the Committee on the Judiciary
Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law
U.S. House of Representatives
June 20, 2002

Legislative Background of Federal Railbanking Program
In 1976, Congress recognized the need to create a “national rail bank” of railroad corridors as a way of ensuring that our nation’s built rail corridor infrastructure, which was frequently assembled at great public cost through state or federal land grants or loan guarantees and powers of eminent domain, remained dedicated for transportation purposes, although these corridors were not needed for present or foreseeable future railroad operations. The Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (4-R Act)provided for mandatory transfers of corridors proposed for abandonment to other carriers, and directed the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), which regulates railroad abandonments, to impose conditions barring the disposition of railroad rights of way for 180 days in order to allow for possible transfers for public use, including for trails.

Notwithstanding these regulatory tools, the declining fortunes of the rail industry began to result in an increasing loss of railroad corridor through abandonment. Then in 1980, Congress passed the Staggers Rail Act, Pub. L. No. 96-448, 94 Stat. 1895 (1980). which required the ICC to exempt most rail abandonments from regulation. As a result, the rate of rail abandonments by major carriers accelerated to between 4,000 to 8,000 miles per year Association of American Railroads, Railroad Facts (1992). This alarming rate of rail abandonments made corridor preservation a critical issue of national policy.

Section 8(d) of the National Trails System Act is the legislative centerpiece of the federal “Rails to Trails Program..” This law was enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 to provide an effective mechanism for preserving railroad rights-of-way for future rail service and for energy efficient alternative transportation use, without imposing additional burdens on rail carriers. The law allows railroads to transfer inactive railroad corridors to qualified trail managers for interim use as trails, until such time as these rights-of-way are needed for future rail service on the condition that trail managers assume all carrying costs (liability, maintenance, and taxes) of the rights of way. By pairing railbanking with interim trail use, Congress created a mechanism that allows for the preservation of our nation's built rail corridor infrastructure for future railroad purposes without burdening the railroads with unwanted property or the communities through which these corridors run with vacant and derelict land. This process is known as “railbanking.”

A key feature of the Railbanking Law is its continuation of the STB’s pre-emptive jurisdiction of conflicting state law during the “railbanking” period during which the right of way is managed as an interim trail. Normally, the STB’s preemptive authority is terminated once the railroad petitions to “abandon” its common carrier obligation and the STB finds that abandonment does not interfere with the “public convenience and necessity.” Once such abandonment authorization is consummated by the railroad, state law principles may apply to divest the railroad of any ability to transfer the corridor for uses other than active railroad service. As the legislative history of the federal railbanking law explains, “The concept of attempting to establish trails only after the formal abandonment of a railroad right of way is self-defeating; once a right-of-way is abandoned for railroad purposes there may be nothing left for trail use.” The federal railbanking law solves this problem by continuing the STB’s pre-emptive jurisdiction over the corridor where a voluntary agreement between the railroad and a trail manager in which the trail manager agrees to assume all legal and financial responsibility for maintaining the corridor.


In sum, the compensation cases arising from the Railbanking Law are not presently, and are not likely to become, a financial burden to the federal treasury. While the pace of railroad abandonments is slowing, the federal Railbanking Law remains an important component of our national policy favoring rail corridor preservation. The law needs to remain in place in order to ensure that the short-term needs of private railroads do not result in the dismantling of a valuable national resource critical to our nation’s long-term economic and national security/national defense needs. Indeed, the importance of rail corridor preservation efforts as a way to achieve needed redundancy in our national transportation network was tragically demonstrated by the curtailment of national air travel following September 11th. The importance of preserving our nation’s built rail corridor infrastructure clearly justifies any internalized costs in defending the program in court. The Railbanking Program is not broken, and does not need fixing.


When the Landlord acquired the Rail Corridor in 1996, Union Pacific Railroad (or its predecessor) reserved the right to reacquire the Rail Corridor should it (or its successors) decide to reactivate freight rail service. In the event Union Pacific Railroad exercises its right to reacquire all or any portion of the Premises, Landlord and Tenant shall consult and cooperate with one another in regards to the impacts and effects thereof. In the event the Lease is terminated as to all or a portion of the Premises due to Union Pacific Railroad’s exercise of rail reactivation rights, or in the event Tenant's rights are materially adversely affected as a result thereof, Landlord will pay to Tenant any amounts Landlord receives from Union Pacific Railroad on account of the unamortized cost associated with any improvements made to the Premises by the Tenant, or deferred maintenance performed by Tenant to make the Premises operable at the outset of the Lease. Apart from the foregoing, Landlord shall have no liability to Tenant by reason of the reactivation of rail service by Union Pacific Railroad, its successors or assigns.


Historic Rail Corridor Dilemma: Rails to Trails or Rails?


17 May 2007 - 4:00am
Rail buffs hope to run a tourist train on an unused rail line in the Sierra foothills outside of Sacramento, but there are concerns that it would prevent the corridor from being used as a recreational trail for hikers, bikers and equestrians.
A group of train fans is proposing turning an historic, 140-year-old rail line into a 40-mile, two-hour excursion ride through El Dorado County outside of Sacramento. "A tourist train, they say, could knit foothills communities, draw visitors and money to the region, bring some history to life and just be plain fun. Proponents say someday, passengers could even dine on the train at tables with white tablecloths, like the Wine Train in the Napa Valley."
Not everyone is on board the train, however.
Some El Dorado County residents say the railroad right-of-way between old town Folsom and Placerville should be developed mainly as a recreation corridor for hikers, bikers, runners and horseback riders.
El Dorado County Supervisor Jack Sweeney, who is among officials interested in the tourist train idea, said his goal would be to develop the corridor for multiple uses, including trains.
"I see this as a shoestring that pulls our communities together in a way that Highway 50 doesn't," Sweeney said.
Rail buff "Bill Anderson and his group, the Folsom, El Dorado & Sacramento Historical Railroad Association (FEDS), say existing rails on the line remain largely intact and usable. The Placerville Branch railroad was built in 1867 to haul logs and farm products and serve passengers to and from the foothills, Anderson said."
"To make it happen, the FEDS group is asking for an OK from the agency that owns the rail line, the Sacramento-Placerville Transportation Corridor Joint Powers Authority.
That agency is made up of four governments, El Dorado County, Sacramento County, the city of Folsom and the Sacramento Regional Transit District.
Joint powers authority executive John Segerdell said his agency will work in the coming months on a formal public process for requesting corridor use proposals, and will seek input from its member governments before deciding whether to go forward with a tourist line."
"I think it would probably work," Segerdell said of the tourist train.
"The biggest obstacle is getting it to balance financially."
Full Story: Tourist train gains steam
Source: The Sacramento Bee, May 15, 2007