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Santa Maria Rec and Parks Commission
Meeting of February 11, 2003
Item #6.b: the SMVRR abandonment

Update April, 2003: The Santa Maria City Council voted on April 1 not to put any City staff or other resources to use in pursuit of any effort to acquire or use the right-of-way (ROW) being abandoned by the SMVRR, community or otherwise. Your SMVRHM Board is considering approaches it may take own its own and/or with other community groups privately.

Februay 11, 2003:

Phil Goble, SMVRHM Board Member and Treasurer, made a presentation to the Santa Maria Rec and Parks Commission at their regular meeting of February 11, 2003 regarding the SMVRR abandonment of approximately 4.7 miles of right-of-way from College Drive east to Gates. He expressed the SMVRHM's desire that the rail corridor be preserved as the Captain Allan Hancock Rail Corridor, and be made open to the possibility of tourist rail activities along its length. Phil's closing slide stated, "Together, let’s pursue the vision of preserving the Captain Allan Hancock Rail Corridor as a Community Asset."

Pictured above-right are the red rail stops at the point that is now the eastern end of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad on the west side of the College Drive crossing. The view beyond, to the east, is the beginning stretch of the 4.7-mile abandonment. The rail is in its best condition here. The further out along the 4.7 miles, the worse it gets. In some cases, the rails are beneath 2-3 feet of crop land. Beyond Rosemary Farms, the track has been closed to locomotives for decades due to the condition of the tracks.

Pictured at left-above is a section further east where the rails lie beneath a couple feet of farm land.

Nearly a dozen people spoke representing farmers, bike and trail groups, cultural groups, and individual citizens. More than a handful of SMVRHM members were present as well.

The Commission was genuinely interested in visioning what that rail corridor might look like and be surrounded by in the decades ahead. Their ultimate action at this meeting was to direct staff to continue pursuing the preservation of the rail corridor and to pursue additional ideas and details of ideas from the various local groups that expressed an interest.

Phil talked from a 13-slide presentation (PDF, 398kb), and showed about 30 seconds of a Napa Valley Wine Train video.

Below is a map (from the slides noted above) showing the 4.7 miles of rail corridor in question (in blue) relative to the rest of the SMVRR rail system.

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