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Clankity Clank: Getting Used to Trains Again

For those living along Railroad Avenue and other spots near tracks in Novato, this clip is nothing special at all. But many who live further away haven't seen or heard the freight cars yet. Here's your chance.

Thanks to JeffCon1, we have a quick clip to show the Northwest Pacific Railway freight cars clanging along the rails in downtown Novato. This video was uploaded on Jan. 5 and shows the train cruising at about 25 mph past the old train depot at Grant & Railroad avenues. After a long hiatus, trains have been running since July 2011.

Steve B January 11, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I love trains! Yea!
Abe January 11, 2012 at 03:10 PM
How do you find the schedule of the trains? I want to take my kids to watch, but don't know when. Don't have time to sit by the tracks and wait all day....
Cindy Koch Stern January 11, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I thought chains clanked and bells clang. Trains always go Clackity Clack. It doesn't matter, I still love em'!
Greg Yates January 11, 2012 at 05:21 PM
You think this is funny! I live 2 miles west of the tracks and I can hear that damn noise, especially the horns, clear as a bell. Thanks SMART! So much for our peace and quiet. Personally I would rather listen to birds and horses.
Carolynn Crandall January 11, 2012 at 05:27 PM
We live near enough the tracks in Blackpoint to hear the trains. Our neighbor hates the noise of the whistles. I don't mind them. When I was a kid (growing up elsewhere), a train would pass by a couple of times a day. Whenever we heard the whistle, we'd run outside to the front road or to the back yard (and stand on our picnic table) to count the cars as they went by. I probably did this until I was 12 or 14. Thinking back on it, I'm not quite sure what the fascination was - growing up in the country, I guess maybe it was just a diversion. To Abe's question above - I don't think they have a set schedule. A lot of days, the train seems to go by about 3pm, but other days it's in the morning, or at other times in the afternoon.
Jan S January 11, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Love them! We are train fans. :) I'd trade places with any one of these people who complain. We live about 2 miles away and can barely hear the train whistle.
Quint Evans January 11, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Love em !! Now if we can bring back the cows, roosters , and frogs , tear down firemans fund, the mill works, and the ugly monsterous tumor on the side of Mount Burdell we can start to recapture the real Novato .
Sam Roth January 11, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Abe Call R.J. Corman & Co. They will give you the number for the depot in Shellville. You can find out when the train is running from them. There is no set schedule. They run according to customer's needs.
LP January 11, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Whoo, whoo! Bring on the trains.
Mike Pechner January 11, 2012 at 06:45 PM
To Mr. Yates and others who don't like trains---The economy of California and the US as a whole would come to a screeching halt if the trains didn't run. US railroads haul over 90% of new cars from factory to dealer and almost ALL of the ship containers from Asia to the US with all of the stuff you bought for Christmas from Japan and China. US Railroads haul over 40% of the entire US freight (barges, planes and trucks share the rest.) Not to mention the railroads are THE most fuel efficient form of land transportation and take hundreds of thousand of trucks off the freeway. Too bad about the noise. The Northwestern Pacific first came to Novato in August of 1878 which fueled the growth of Marin County and helped farmers and growers get the feed they needed for their animals and took their meat and crops to other markets. I support SMART because it will give folks another alternative to the car but if you are concerned about noise, just wait for SMART in a few weeks because they are going completely tear out the existing track, ties and roadbed and put down a brand new railroad with welded rail and concrete ties. Lots of dust and noise headed your way for the next three years while freight trains keep on rolling. So the question remains, WHO needs American Railroads? YOU do!
Robert J. Cleek January 11, 2012 at 07:33 PM
If you are interested in the operations of the NORTHWESTERN PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY (not the "Northwest Pacific Railway!"), a good place to start is the NWP Network's website. http://nwprr.net/ These railfans monitor the operations of the NWP Co. The company, apparently, prefers to keep a low profile, no doubt because of the "crazies" that have cause them and the right of way owner, the North Coast Railroad Authority ("NCRA"), a State agency owned by us, the taxpayers, so much money fighting their efforts to restore rail freight service to the Redwood Empire. From all indications, NWP Co. is on track to be a profitable enterprise. Until now, they've been running somewhere around ten to fifteen carloads of feed grain to the feed companies in Petaluma and one or two loads of construction lumber to Santa Rosa each week, which is pretty good for a start-up short-haul line. That's s saved the ranchers a lot of money in feed costs. Rumor has it that within a couple of weeks or so, they will begin hauling packing materials and glass to Santa Rosa for Alexander Valley Cellars and other wineries and hauling cases of full wine bottles back out again for shipment across the US. All of that wine has been hauled by truck through Novato on 101, producing a lot more noise and carbon emissions than rail freight and at a much greater expense.
Born & raised January 11, 2012 at 08:23 PM
To those opposed I'd be willing to bet those tracks we're there before you bought your house or started renting it. Besides, the train passes by in a matter of seconds.
David Randolph January 12, 2012 at 01:18 AM
No thanks to councilwoman Carole Dillon-Knutson, who did everything in her power to try and stop this train from running. Nuts to you Carole and your retirement was a very welcomed bit of news for many of us in Novato.
Rick Fraites January 12, 2012 at 01:39 AM
BTW, thank you American Taxpayer. You paid for most of this baby, not private investors.
Edwin Drake January 12, 2012 at 07:38 PM
railheads, sheeesh!
Eileen Plunkett January 12, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Citizens of Novato were told there would be no horns, whistles or other noise when the trains come through in what are called "quiet zones" and this appears to be that. So why all the whistles, bells and horns...it certainly would be disruptive to sleeping babies and others, so if the RR is felt to be a necessity then why not make the "quiet zone", truly quiet. Comment #2, I don't feel it's necessary to denigrate Carol Dillon Knutson....she did all she could to get SMART through and she knew the freight train would also use the tracks.........so if you are for the freight trains and SMART, thank Carol, don't say nasty things about her. While on CC she did a commendable job, not always what I would have had her do, but she did what she truly believed in.....I say, Happy Retirement Carol and thank you for your many years of service on CC.
Jan S January 12, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Trailer parks are zoned as business property. So people who live in thin-walled trailers situated right next to tracks in an area zoned for businesses ... wellll ... common sense would say if a person living there doesn't like it, MOVE. *shrug* Otherwise, accept the fact that one lives in a BUSINESS ZONE. Oh, and wait till that sleeping baby gets older, it'll be outside making MORE NOISE than any train ever could! LOL!
David Randolph January 19, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Dear Eileen, Commendable? LOL! Your esteemed Carole Dillon Knutson was all for the farce of not so SMART, but did all she could to stop the freight trains. That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her "performance" as a city council member. For one, she wanted to HIKE the real estate transfer tax (not allowed, because we are not a charter city) and I could go on and on. And this so-called public servant cared so much for her nearby neighbors that she allowed her non-running, piece of crap, rusting, oil leaking ancient Chevy Suburban to sit on the street in front of her house for several years (where were Novato's parking cops enforcing the 72-hr. limit?-MIA-or was this just a city council perk?) until they finally towed it away. You can still see the oil spot in front of her house. After she announced her retirement, at a party I hosted our large group of Novatans all heartedly drank a toast to her exit. Her time on the council was living proof that most voters pay little attention to issues and vote only for a familiar name. Sad.

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