Sunday Mar 16 2008
Nevada Street station named after longtime rail rider
By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
Robert Conheim was active advocate for public transportation
Capitol Corridor passengers of the future will know Robert Conheim, even though they will never get the chance to meet him in person. Dozens of family, friends and local officials gathered Friday to honor the longtime Capitol Corridor rider and passenger-rail service advocate by officially naming the Nevada Street station after him. A plaque donated by fellow Capitol Corridor riders commemorating Conheim was also unveiled. Auburn's Lord Mayor of the train commute to Sacramento, who died last year, first started taking the train in 2001 after many years of driving between Auburn and his workplace in Sacramento. We came out to honor Robert and support his family, said Janine Martin, a longtime friend of the Conheims who attended the ceremony with her husband, Galen Martin. He got so many people to ride the train and he touched a lot of lives in the process. He made riding the train fun. A statement from the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority said that positive experience onboard the train ignited a passion for rail travel and he quickly became an ardent spokesperson for public transportation, particularly rail service. Conheim once calculated that his vehicle usage dropped to less than 3,000 miles a year when he became a committed CC Rider. As a result of his vocal support for rail service, Conheim was elected to the board of the National Association of Railroad Passengers and he took his passion for rail nationwide. Dubbed Lord Mayor by his fellow CC Riders, Conheim was well known not only to legislators but also to Capitol Corridor passengers and rail staff. Conheim died in July 2007 and the Auburn City Council voted a month later to rename what had been initially called the Auburn Multimodal Station the Robert F. Conheim Auburn Train Station. Placer County CC Riders raised the money for a train station plaque by organizing a series of fundraising events. Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes, Auburn City Councilman Kevin Hanley and Capitol Corridor riders and officials spoke during Friday's ceremony. City Councilmembers Mike Holmes, Bridget Powers and Mayor Keith Nesbitt were also present. Robert had a tremendous positive impact on the Capitol Corridor service, Mike Holmes said. Our one train used to have one of the poorest service records and now it has one of the best. Chuck Robuck, a longtime friend of Conheim's and a fellow CC Rider, said Conheim will always be remembered for his work with the rail service. People often ask me, Is there going to be another Lord Mayor?' and no, there will never be another Lord Mayor, Robuck said. It will always be Robert Conheim. Conheim's wife, Paula Conheim, said she wasn't planning on speaking at the ceremony, but after she saw the plaque and heard what others had to say, she was moved. I am so moved that so many people are so aware and so grateful for what Robert did, she said. He really loved every single one of you. The Journal's Gus Thomson contributed to this report. The Journal's Jenna Nielsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment at auburnjournal.com.