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November 21
1967 - Local voters approve formation of community college and elect COC's first five-member board - Dr. William G. Bonelli Jr., Bruce Fortine, Sheila Dyer, Peter Huntsinger, Edward Muhl [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Monday, Feb 1, 2016

darrylmanzer0215The weather is causing a delay in my planned trip to the Central Valley. I won’t leave until tomorrow … unless the snow on Route 58 is too bad. I worry the road might be blocked with snow or mud.

In the railroad history of California, the weather has played a significant role – snow in the Sierras, floods in the Central Valley, lack of rain and water here in the Southern California environs.

And the winds – what about the wind? I’ve seen shipping containers nearly blow off of train cars right here in the Acton area. I wonder what those light cars and engines of the high-speed rail system would do in a strong crosswind?

All of those places where there’s high-speed rail don’t have anything like our weather here. Except Japan. When a typhoon hits that island nation, all trains stop. And yes, even stopped, they can be derailed.

So maybe my weather delay isn’t so different from what we might expect with the high-speed rail system they’re planning. If we knew the route, we could really plan better. It has started construction, and they still don’t have a complete route planned. What’s more, it is being started in the middle of the system. Start in the middle and build out both ways. Now that is a plan. Not much of a plan, but it’s a plan.

Sunday night in Acton | Photos: Glenda & Larry DeLong

Sunday night in Acton | Photos: Glenda & Larry DeLong

I started to look for a potential route for the high-speed rail system. I’ll be taking pictures, and I think my guess about the route will be about as accurate as any the formerly great state of California High Speed Rail Authority boondoggle can come up with. They seem to be spending a lot of money trying to convince us we need a train and not a better water supply or better highways.

Is anyone shocked that the best-run public transportation system in California – and for that matter the whole country – are the trains and monorails at Disneyland and Disney World?

So I won’t call the California high-speed rail system a “Mickey Mouse railroad” because I don’t think it will ever match the reliability of schedule, equipment and personnel that the real “Mickey Mouse Railroad” enjoys. Casting any doubt on the Disney rail system wouldn’t be good. I love the Disney trains and monorails.

It snowed in Acton Sunday night, and that is one of the mountain passes I must cross on my way to the first stop in Bakersfield. I have to admit, I never thought I be going there on purpose. If I can make it over the next pass before “Bako,” I’ll only have to worry about flooding and fog. (Or maybe flooding with fog.)

The Hart High band went to the little town of Wasco in the Central Valley once, and we had to stop the buses because of the fog. We did stop at one of the “golden arches” places. I think they ran out of food. Back when a hamburger was just 6 cents less than a quarter. We’d order five at a time.

Is the rail authority ready for the fog with high-speed trains? Will fog be a factor in reducing speeds when necessary? Time tables are so important. Will they be able to figure that out?

This is going to be fun, and when I’m done with my train stuff, I might just take a drive down the coast along what I think should be the high-speed route. But what the heck. I also like the road. No snow.

Right now I’m packing up some more stuff. Don’t want to let the inside of the RV get covered in baking soda or flour. Tie the stuff down. Put it in the cabinets. Whatever.

I’ll make a fresh pot of coffee, check the tow bar and lights on the Jeep and head to the great California Central Valley. Food basket to the world.

Wagons ho!

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

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2 Comments

  1. jimvs says:

    Don’t forget to check the parking brake on the Jeep!

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