A new line of talks
A new line of talks
Friday, September 18, 2009
Port trying to lease or purchase crucial tracks from CB-Coquille
Union Pacific still owns the section of rail line between North Bend and Coquille.
Repairs are under way on four tunnels along the 111-mile Coos Bay Rail Link between Eugene and Coos Bay. The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay is looking for more funds to be able to re-open the line sometime next summer or fall. But the port really needs use of the spur from Coos Bay to Coquille for the line to chug into business.
Two of the big shippers that will help pay for service are Georgia-Pacific and Roseburg Forest Products.
“We need some kind of operating agreement (with Union Pacific) to serve those two customers,” said Martin Callery, director of communications.
The port has approached UP, which technically still has a lease agreement with Central Oregon Pacific Railroad, to work a deal.
Usually silent on local rail issues, Union Pacific’s director of corporate communications did respond to questions this week about railroad talks.
“Union Pacific has had discussions with the port about that piece of property,” Tom Lange said.
And that’s all he said in an e-mail.
The port already received $2.5 million in federal funds to repair four tunnels along the line. It has hired LRL Construction of Tillamook to do the work, which began last Tuesday.
But repairs are needed to the tracks and bridges along the line before rail service can resume, Callery said. So the port recently submitted another application for federal stimulus funds, some of which could be used to help upgrade the UP track. The deadline to apply for the funds expired Tuesday, and federal officials are expected to award funds sometime this winter, Callery said.
Callery predicted the port could re-open the line by next September ��” if the port can pull together enough money. The port purchased the rail line in May from CORP, which closed the line in September 2007 over safety concerns regarding three tunnels.
By Alexander Rich, Staff Writer