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 NAPA, Calif., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Northern Railroad (CFNR) said today that it plans to begin freight operations Sunday, Sept. 26, over 354 miles of track that it is leasing from the Southern Pacific Transportation Company under a long-term agreement.
 The new railroad includes 132 miles of track from Schellville to Willits, formerly operated as the Northwestern Pacific; 37 miles from Schellville to Suisun, including the Napa and Vallejo branch lines; the 113-mile West Valley line from Davis to Tehama; and the 58-mile West Side line from Tracy to Los Banos.
 The new railroad will have its headquarters and customer service center at Napa and a marketing and operating branch office at Woodland, Calif. Corporate headquarters are located at St. Helena, Calif.
 David Parkinson, California Northern's chairman, said that representatives of the CFNR have met with most of the shippers on the line. "Based on what they've told us, we believe there are good prospects to increase business on these lines by offering faster transit times and more dependable, customer-oriented service."
 William Herndon, who serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer, said, "We are prepared for a smooth transition from the SP to the California Northern." Prior to joining CFNR, Herndon was vice president-railroad operations for Itel Rail Corporation, San Francisco, overseeing the company's six short lines.
 California Northern will have about 60 employees primarily based in Napa and Woodland, including two full-time marketing directors to help generate new business for the railroad. All operating employees have been trained and locomotive engineers will be certified by the Federal Railroad Administration.
 The railroad expects to handle approximately 30,000 carloads annually consisting of forest products, agricultural and manufactured goods.
 Trains will operate on regular schedules five or six days per week, including branch lines. Superintendents at Napa and Woodland will oversee day-to-day operations. Terminals will be located at Corning, Healdsburg, Napa Junction, Tracy, and Woodland.
 California Northern has acquired 14 1,500 h.p. GP15 and two 1,750- h.p. SD9 locomotives, which are being reconditioned and freshly painted in the line's dark green and sand colors. Freight cars will be supplied by the Southern Pacific and connecting railroads.
 Trains on the Northwestern Pacific and West Valley lines operate at speeds up to 40 m.p.h The railroad's main lines are laid with heavy 113-to-136 lb. rail and are well maintained to comply with FRA standards for Class 3 and Class 2 track. Approximately one-third of the main lines are laid with continuous-welded rail. Herndon said, "We have a long-term maintenance plan in place to assure that track and equipment remain in good condition."
 California Northern's management team also operates the Arizona & California Railroad, which operates 297 miles of line between Phoenix and Cadiz, Calif. near Barstow. The railroad's president, William Frederick also serves as president of the California Northern.
 California Northern connects with the Southern Pacific at Davis, Suisun, Tehama, and Tracy, Calif.; the California Western and North Coast railroads at Willits; and the Napa Valley Railroad at Rocktram, Calif.
 -0- 9/23/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: California Northern map available by fax: contact Pete Briggs, 612-483-1856, or Bill Herndon, 707-254-9244./
 /CONTACT: David Parkinson of CFNR, 707-963-8831; or Jack Martin, 415-541-1656, or Mike Furtney, 415-541-1652, both of Southern Pacific Transportation/

CO: California Northern Railroad; Southern Pacific Transportation
 Company ST: California IN: TRN SU: JVN

KH-DB -- MN003 -- 5269 09/23/93 14:01 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 23, 1993

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