Thursday, January 6, 2011

Coos Bay Port Takes Ownership of Rail Corridor

Officials at the Oregon-state Port of Coos Bay, in a deal with Class-I railroad Union Pacific, have taken ownership of a 23-mile of UP track running from Eugene to Coos Bay.
Port officials plan to restore the line with the intention of opening it to freight traffic by mid-2011 with full service restored by September.

Using federal stimulus funds, port officials have already rehabilitated several tunnels and performed required maintenance along the stretch of track. An additional $3.6 million in state funds approved last year are also being used to fund other portions of the track restoration. Additional repair work to signals and rehabilitation of at-grade crossings with street traffic will also need to be completed before the line reopens.

The port has requested $7.8 million in state lottery-backed transportation funds to complete refurbishment of the track. The port's application for funding has already received top marks from four state transportation committees.

The 23-mile stretch is actually the tail end of a 111-mile Coquille-to-Eugene stretch of track that the port already purchased from a beleaguered Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad after the railroad abandoned the line.