The Mendocino Railway, locally called the Skunk Train received a federal loan to repair Noyo Tunnel 1. The Tunnel was initially closed in 2013, reopened briefly, and closed again in 2015. Mendocino Railway shares the 31.4-million-dollar loan with the Sierra Northern Railway. Due to a pending lawsuit between Mendocino Railway vs The City of Fort Bragg and the California Coastal Commission, we were unable to get interviews with the Railway or other local groups. This piece pulls from a June 2021 interview with Robert Pinoli, the president of Mendocino Railway to explain what happened to the tunnel and his plans, at that time, to reopen it.
Michelle Blackwell is a writer, journalist, and reader. She contributes to the KZYX News program and publishes in the Fort Bragg Advocate and the Mendocino Beacon regularly. She developed, hosts, and produces the KZYX radio show and podcast “Upwelling” Her fiction pieces have appeared in various Writers of the Mendocino Coast anthologies.