We’re big fans of the county’s Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum near our home in Nevada City. We’re donors, longtime California railroad buffs, as well as fans of director Madelyn Helling and the crew of talented, engineering-minded volunteers.
While meeting with Madelyn recently and walking the grounds, I wondered aloud whether it would be possible to bring back the Narrow Gauge rail line — a nostalgic thought more than anything else.
It would be very costly and difficult: Much of the track is gone and the “right of way” negotiations in a county with a “get off my land” mindset would be thorny.
Still, it’s OK to dream — and so are others.
“How many of you would support the idea of bringing back a rail line from Colfax to Grass Valley and Nevada City?” Reinette Senum wrote on her Facebook page this weekend. “We would utilize the old Narrow Gauge route and actually tunnel under the areas where there are new homes.
“This would be for passenger and freight. Please let me know. I’m working on this right now.”
Any discussion obviously is at its infancy and faces myriad hurdles. But I appreciate creativity and initiative in our community — as opposed to embracing the status quo.
(This photo, from 1930, shows Sadie Geronimi Angiolini — the last surviving employee of the county Narrow Gauge railroad — oiling up Engine #5. Photo courtesy of Searls Historical Library.)
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