Feb 18, 2009
Here is part of an email I recieved today. An update on the goins on with the Amador Central.
I am a member of the Recreational Railroad Coalition and Historical Society. WE LEASE the Amador Central Railroad and MR. Lange is a new group who thinks they are going to take over the Depot in Ione and the ACRR #10 which sits in front of the depot.
They have done nothing but make trouble and make the UP mad. They have also made no friends with the City of Ione. We were told by our President Mr. Larry Bowler if Mr. Lange or his associate were found on the property we were to call the police.
I am not sure what they are trying to prove but the group has only 2 members I know of.
If you want any further information, please contact Larry Bowler.
I was kinda wondering about that since I've talked to a few of the RRC fellas.
This guy sent me a newsletter of the group as well but I couldn't read it since my computer didn't support the type of file used.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out then. On the positive, it seems there are plenty of people who would like to somehow keep this line alive eh.
Argh. Not good. I hope the RR survives. However, I have seen such a situation lead to demise instead.
I don't think we'll have any problems with keeping the line in place. The RRC seems to have very good control of the situation and is doin an excellent job with upkeep.
Also they had started to restore an original wye in Ione. There is currently no railroad using the line and AFAIK there are not any groups proposing scrapping it yet. I have heard that the engine house and depot sites are goin to be leveled and developed for either new housing or business but I havn't heard any updates. Supposedly anything left at Martell will go to a museum.
A friend just forwarded this article to me a few minutes ago.
History on track?
Friday, February 13, 2009
By Jerry Budrick
Abandoned Amador Central Railroad depots sit fenced and vandalized at both ends of the 12 miles of track between Martell and Ione, pictured, where Old #10 awaits its fate.Photo by: Jerry Budrick
Railroad enthusiasts hope to see the lines run again by the old train depot at the Martell end of the abandoned Amador Central Railroad.Photo by: Jerry Budrick
Last year was an especially difficult one for local history buffs.
In Amador County, a place where history is a major attraction, 2008 saw the razing of Buscaglia's Restaurant in Jackson Gate; the ripping out of rails as part of an effort to abandon the Amador Central Railroad tracks and right of way in Martell; locking the doors of the museum; closing down the county's historical archives; moving everything out of the old courthouse; and rolling the last of the local rail line's locomotives to an unknown fate.
All of this was in addition to Georgia Fox's retirement after 19 years of staffing the museum and Larry Cenotto's continued absence from the Amador County Archives.
Much of this has been about money. Old buildings weren't designed for modern functions - compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act can prove expensive. The absence of major industrial companies in the upper elevations of the county makes commercial rail service financially impractical, so there's no one willing to pay to keep it available. Museums and archives are proven financial drains. All of this is true, but...
Groups of residents are willing to spend time, energy and money on seeking ways to preserve county history. Foremost among these groups is the Amador County Historical Society, which is engaged with the county on preparing a contract that will transfer responsibility for operation of the Amador County Museum from the county to the society. The society has expressed a willingness to expend some effort at raising the funds needed to complete the repairs and alterations necessary to reopen the museum.
"The main purpose of the meeting was to find out about the agreement, but there is no agreement from the county yet," ACHS president Larry Cenotto said after a recent meeting.
The Amador County Archives are stored in the back room of the county records management building on Airport Road in Martell and there are some advocates for moving them.
"There are a lot of people who don't want to see the collection split up," Cenotto said. "I just want to see the county out of the business of running the collection."
One possibility, Cenotto mentioned, is movement of the collection into a new building planned for construction on the historic Kennedy Mine property.
There is presently no one employed to catalog and care for the historic materials. Deborah Cook, who was the only paid archive employee, fell victim to the county's growing budget crisis, leaving no one to continue her work at the archives. Cook accepted a voluntary layoff offered by the county at the end of last year. Cook now works as one of the volunteers doing entry work that she trusts will eventually result in reestablishment of the search mechanism for archival materials on the county Web site. "Everybody's got to step up," Cook said.
On the railroad scene, a competition of sorts has arisen to see who can do the most good in repairing, preserving and restoring the tracks and stations of the defunct Amador Central Railroad.
There are two depot buildings, one at either end of the 12 miles of track. At the eastern terminus in Martell, the dilapidated depot now belongs to Sierra Pacific Industries, which is attempting to abandon the tracks and get out of the history business. Some interested parties have been lobbying for establishment of an historic railroad depot inside the triangle of the old mill property, west of Highway 49, somewhere between Meek's Lumber and Safeway.
At the western end, the depot belongs to Union Pacific, which is in the middle of negotiations to give it to the city of Ione, which, in turn, would like to give it to the Recreational Railroad Coalition. The RRC recently celebrated completion of a 2 1/2 year project restoring an historic wye at the junction of the Amador Central and Union Pacific.
Also in the mix is the Amador County Historic Railroad Foundation, a fledgling organization of local railroad enthusiasts who believe that there could once again be viable commercial rail service from the county's business hub in Martell through Ione and onto the nationwide rail system.
Their mission right now is to prevent destruction or removal of the Amador Central's last locomotive, the old #10 Baldwin that sits on the tracks near the Ione Depot. ACHRR President Colin Frost has been scrambling to find a bit of accessible track to use as a parking space for this remnant of Amador's railroad history.
The fate of the former county courthouse on Court Street in Jackson remains a mystery. Suggestions for alternate uses - including as a possible indoor theater venue - pop up from time to time, but none of them has taken hold, leaving a hole in the county seat where once a bustling building sent its denizens to Jackson businesses with regularity. Again, ADA issues prompted the exodus of superior court operations to a building a few miles out of downtown on Argonaut Lane.
I hope that through all of this, somehow, the process picks up speed. Before the truly stupid, and other dregs of humanity amongst us destroy what its left.
Wasn't there going to be an attempt to restore the ex-McCloud 2-6-2 back to service as well?
I had heard something of this as well but I have no current info on the progress of the idea.
Ok, I've now talked to both sides. There seems to be alot of animosity and accusations between the two groups. I will not discuss the things I've heard nor will I allow the politics of this to enter the discussion here. I just want to post the goins on. I also wish to express my advice to take everything with a grain of salt. I'll wait to see what actually happens versus what members of either group are saying will happen.
So for now, all I can give you is this, the Amador County Historic Railroad Foundation (ACHRRF) is supposed to have a booth at the Jackson Fair from July 30-Aug 2nd. They will be distributing info and possibly have a layout on display. Those interested and able, check it out.
I am now of the understanding this unit is privately owned and is being lended to the city for display purposes. There are those who wish to eventually get ahold of her and do something with her. Only time will tell what really happens.
It would be to everyone's advantage to end the squabbling and present a united front to keep the line and other stuff intact. S12 number 9 has been cut up with no regard to preservation of one of the last locomotives used on the Amador Central.
Hopefully the two groups will work together or merge their efforts.