Coos Bay Rail Needs Overhaul To Handle Coal

Apr 3, 2012

COOS BAY, Ore. -- An engineering study found that a rail line between Coos Bay and Eugene needs about $100 million worth of work before it can handle heavier train traffic. The study was paid for by anonymous investors interested in exporting coal from Coos Bay. Amelia Templeton reports.

The Port of Coos Bay bought the line in 2009, after it was shut down by a Florida company.

It’s been back in service for less than a year, moving small amounts of freight for sawmills and timber companies.

Now the Port is considering a proposal from investors to move up to 10 million tons of coal, per year, along the rail line.

A Portland engineering firm, David Evans and Associates, evaluated the line.

It found that the line needs repairs and upgrades.

Many of its bridges are beginning to rust and rot. David Koch, the Port CEO, says public funds would not be used to make upgrades.

Koch: “Whoever is moving unit train commodities on the rail line is going to be 100 percent responsible for paying for the upgrades that are necessary to handle that traffic.”

The Port has signed a confidentiality agreement, and has not named the investors interested in building a coal export terminal in Coos Bay.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network