Winter Weather Storm Halts Service on Coos Bay Rail Line

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor
rail bridge in coos Bay
Wikipedia/Doug Kerr

COOS COUNTY, Ore. – Coos Bay Rail Line service stops as crews work to clear hundreds of fallen trees along the line.

The Coos Bay Rail Line, a freight line that runs from Coos County to Lane County in Oregon, brings in roughly $550 million per year. With the ice storm that occurred in January, the damage included hundreds of fallen trees on the rail line, according to KPIC. Thus, 12 locomotives had come to a stop. 

Brian Early, manager for the line, said 46 of 134 miles were covered with debris. With the fallen trees came downed powerlines and mudslides. According to the report, hi-rail trucks have been deployed in clearing the line to restore service. Early said that after a day or two into the clean-up, “we were able to move in some of our hirail heavy equipment, and we were able to get in and assist with that, but it was six twelve-hour days of manual labor. . . physical, manual labor in this kind of weather and worse.”

Courtesy of Port of Coos Bay

Early went on to say that their “customers depend on us to ship their cars every day. When we can’t move those cars, those cars don’t go to market. Not only that, we lose the potential revenue from the following days, so we have to move that freight every day.” The estimated cost of cleanup comes out to $200,000. That figure does not figure in any lost revenue. 

Last year, crews began servicing 45,000 ties along the line between Coos Bay and Eugene. In addition, the bridges are also going to be rehabilitated or replaced. Each project costs $10 million and is paid for via state and federal grants as well as “port funds and a railroad surcharge paid by customers.”

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