A brief history of trains and their connection to the Tri-Valley | Notes on the Valley | Monith Ilavarasan | DanvilleSanRamon.com |

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By Monith Ilavarasan

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About this blog: My parents, brother, and I moved to Pleasanton when I was in the seventh grade. I then graduated from Amador Valley High School, went to college at UC Davis and started out a career in tech. After several years working in large co...  (More)

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A brief history of trains and their connection to the Tri-Valley

Uploaded: Mar 15, 2023
It’s hard out here for a freight train lover these days. This past month we witnessed a catastrophic train derailment in the midwest. The derailment released over one million gallons of hazardous chemicals and led to a multi-day evacuation of over five thousand residents.

Although recent news concerning freight trains has been negative, trains are inextricably tied to the growth of our country. The history of early railroad development in the United States dates back to the early 19th century when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (aka. B&O Railroad) opened for business in 1830. You might recognize this company as one of the four railroads you can buy in Monopoly.

Back in the early days of the railroad industry there were many small and competing railroads. Many were financed by local governments and were built to serve local markets or specific industries.

The tracks were often made of wooden rails and the locomotives were powered by horses or mules. However, with the advent of steam power, the railroads began to expand rapidly, connecting more cities and spurring economic growth.

One of the most significant early developments in the railroad industry was the construction of the transcontinental railroad, which linked the East and West coasts of the United States. In 1869 the Union Pacific, starting in Omaha, connected to the Central Pacific, which started in Sacramento.

As the industry grew and expanded, it began consolidating into fewer and fewer firms. The first major wave of railroad consolidation occurred in the late 1800s. Many of the smaller railroads were absorbed by larger companies, and by the mid-20th century, a few major companies came to dominate the industry.

This consolidation accelerated in 1980, with the passage of the Staggers Rail Act.

Prior to the Staggers Rail Act, the railroad industry in the United States was heavily regulated by the federal government. This regulation included strict controls on the rates that railroads could charge for their services, as well as restrictions on mergers and other forms of consolidation.

The Staggers Rail Act sought to deregulate the railroad industry, with the goal of promoting competition and efficiency. Among other provisions, the Act gave railroads greater flexibility in setting rates for their services and reduced the regulatory hurdles for mergers and acquisitions.

As a result, the railroad industry in the United States saw a wave of consolidation in the 1980s and 1990s. Many smaller railroads were acquired by larger ones, leading to the creation of further consolidation of large railroads into an oligopoly of seven major providers.

This consolidation has given heavy market power to the top players. They are able to avoid spending any money on new and updated electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) braking systems for their trains costing a couple billion while spending more than $10 billion in buybacks and dividends over the first six months of 2022.

These measures, along with chronically understaffing, were directly related to the myriad of train derailments seen over the past few decades.

While the current state of the rail industry is difficult to stomach for train lovers, there are still areas where you can go to appreciate the locomotive siren.

As part of the aforementioned Central Pacific railroad, a rail line was built through Niles Canyon. After serving the Tri-Valley for a number of years, the line ceased its operations in 1984 and gave its land over to Alameda County. A group of rail enthusiasts formed the Pacific Locomotive Association with the goal of preserving and restoring historic railroad equipment and acquired the line.

Over the next several years, the Pacific Locomotive Association worked to restore the track and equipment, and in 1987, the Niles Canyon Railway began offering heritage train rides to the public. Today, the railway operates regular weekend excursions along a scenic stretch of track through Niles Canyon, offering visitors a glimpse into the history of railroading in the Bay Area.

I remember going to the track as a kid on a field trip and loving it. In this day and age, the historic tour helps us remember the foundational role trains played in our nation's history. It strikes home the importance of ensuring this important mode of transportation is strong, safe, and resilient.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Henrietta Davenport, a resident of another community,
on Mar 15, 2023 at 4:12 pm

Henrietta Davenport is a registered user.

The small gauge RR at Roaring Camp is also fun ride.

They have picnic tables, a catered BBQ for those so inclined, and outdoor musicians playing country music.

It is a throwback to the earlier days of the late 19th to early 20th century Santa Cruz lumber industry when America was still a predominantly white workingman's country.

Posted by Rich Buckley, a resident of Jensen Tract,
on Mar 17, 2023 at 12:28 pm

Rich Buckley is a registered user.


Forecasting professionals always revise, including revising our air, land, and sea transportation systems. Some of the best forecasters have served in the 3-letter intelligence agencies. ... As explained in Part 1 of 7 Parts on Tim Hunt in additional depth here: Web Link


These former intelligence agency forecasters look at the world abstractly and even consider conspiracy evidence that some of our USA trains are being intentionally wrecked and alternatives may need to be evaluated for the public benefit. We won't be told of course that these scenarios are being carefully explored. My sources indicate they have reliable second hand sources evaluating our transportation systems carefully for the public good.


Even if we are all captured participants in a global 5th-generation War for global resources, control and power... (which we all are)... it's not the end of Mother Earth. It's not the end of humanity. It's not the end of money. It's not the end of the Central Banks. It's the end the Deep State [DS] Federal Reserve debt-dollar which we will replace with a new gold backed, ... AND ... energy backed, ...expect deep well drilling for example in Alaska to open huge quantities of natural gas and oil. This new precious metals AND energy backed “Patriot Dollar" will be issued instead by our US Treasury not the current Federal Reserve debt dollar. The current [DS] Federal Reserve skim's-off 98-cents of every dollar and privately owned. They have been skimming going on 300 years. Their end is here. This will be followed by a generation ... 7 to 20 years... of rebuilding the entire country and world in do-no-harm-freedom and do-no-harm-liberty metals and energy backed Patriot Dollar .... NAMASTE ...Rich Buckley, Pres. Peace and Conflict Resolution (dot) Org., Corp.

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