For Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, a $4.7MM Upgrade

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor, Railway Age
Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Photograph Courtesy of Clark County, Wash., Public Works
Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Photograph Courtesy of Clark County, Wash., Public Works

The first phase of a $4.7 million rehabilitation project will start this fall on the 33-mile Chelatchie Prairie Railroad in Washington state.

PVJR interchanges with the BNSF/Union Pacific shared main line four miles north of Portland, Ore., in the city of Vancouver, Wash. It is located near the Port of Portland and the Port of Vancouver.

Covered by Washington transportation funds, line owner Clark County, Wash., will use $1.5 million to improve 14 miles between Vancouver and Battle Ground, according to a Nov. 27 report in The Columbian. That stretch, leased to Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad (PVJR), will be upgraded with new crossties, track and ballast. The phase one project is slated to take about eight weeks.

Clark County leases the north end of the line between Heisson and Chelatchie Prairie to seasonal excursion train operator BYCX (Battle Ground, Yacolt and Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Association).

The $2.7 million second phase includes bridge repair work as well as tie and ballast replacement along 12 miles of track from Battle Ground to Yacolt.

Kevin Tyler, Lands Manager for Clark County Public Works, told the newspaper that while “the railroad past Battle Ground is not currently leased to a commercial freight operator, fixing the line and ensuring that it can carry items like hazardous materials allows for similar operations like the Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad to operate” there.

The $500,000 third phase of the project will replace ballast along seven miles of line from Yacolt to Chelatchie, according to The Columbian.

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