On April 29, a Coos Bay Rail Link freight train moved the first rail shipment of plywood out of the Roseburg Forest Products mill in Coquille, Ore., since the rail line closed five and a half years ago.
This accomplishment marks the full restoration of freight rail service on the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay‘s 134-mile rail line.
“We as a community have done the impossible,” said Port CEO David Koch. “We’ve accomplished what so many naysayers said couldn’t be done.”
In April, North Bend-based Billeter Marine and Scott Partney Construction completed the final step of repairing two critical wooden trestles to open the remaining 20 miles of rail line to Coquille.
Roseburg Forest Products’ Director of Transportation Jeff Brandt said the return of rail service is very exciting for the Coquille mill and its employees.
“Shippers moved 2,480 rail cars of commodities across the Coos Bay rail line in 2012. We expect to double shipments on the rail line this year now that we have service to Coquille,” said Scott
Parkinson, president of the Coos Bay Rail Link.
“Moving product by rail directly out of Coquille can eliminate up to 18 truckloads per day of material being shipped to another mill, where it then is loaded on a rail car,” Brandt said. “This will not only allow us to be more competitive by reducing our costs, but it will benefit the community and environment by reducing highway traffic and emissions.”
Roseburg also transports wood chips on the rail line to its export shipping terminal on the North Spit of Coos Bay. The company is one of 11 manufacturers and agricultural producers who have transported wood products, steel, chromite ore and organic cattle feed on the shortline since 2011.