On September 21, 2007, rail service on the Coos Bay
rail line, then owned and operated by the Central
Oregon & Pacific (CORP) Railroad was embargoed from
Vaughn in Lane County to the North Spit of lower
Coos Bay. The closure impacted Georgia-Pacificand
several other rail shippers in the region.
Additionally, CORP discontinued service on rail
spurs serving Roseburg Forest Products in Coquille,
Southport Forest Products on the North Spit, and
American Bridge on Bolon Island near Reedsport.
CORP cited safety concerns in three tunnels on the
line as the primary reason for the embargo, and
later commented and confirmed that the line also had
a backlog of deferred maintenance. The loss of
freight rail service forced commodity shippers on
the line to shift to trucking at much higher costs.
Port, acting in the best interests of the south
coast communities and companies served by the rail
line, took action at the direction of the Portís
Board of Commissioners and moved ahead with
acquisition of the rail line through a Feeder Line
Application (FLA) action before the U.S. Surface
Transportation Board. Financing of the acquisition
was supported by a loan package administered by the
Oregon Economic & Community Development Department.
At the time the FLA was filed, CORP also sought
abandonment of the Coos Bay line. Granting of
abandonment action could have resulted in loss of
the rail corridor between Eugene and Coos County.
The Port finalized the acquisition of the 111 miles of the CORP
Coos Bay rail line in March 2009, and immediately
applied for federal stimulus funding available
through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
The Port was successful in acquiring a $2.5 million
grant award, which was used for high-priority tunnel
rehabilitation. That work was completed in fall
2010. Port staff pursued additional federal and
state funding for continued rehabilitation of the
Coos Bay line.
In August 2010, the Oregon Transportation Commission awarded the
Port $7.8 million through the ConnectOregon
III program for repairs to the rail lineís three
swing bridges and upgrades for trestles. The Port
also was successful in obtaining a $13.5 million
Tiger II Transportation Investment Generating
Economic Recovery grant in October 2010. The funds
have allowed the Port to rehabilitate rail, ties,
ballast and other track components with the goal of
having freight trains travel at efficient speeds between 25 and
40 mph. Finally, the Port will be using an estimated
$528,000 from the Oregon Department of
Transportation to fund replacement of signal
electronics at seven mainline crossings to improve
Bay rail line re-opens
Port re-opened the first 111 miles of rail line
between Eugene and North Bend in October 2011. It
then restored service to the final 23 miles of line
from North Bend to Coquille in April 2013.
Port has contracted with ARG Trans, a shortline railroad
operator, to provide service along the entire
134-mile rail line, including Coos Bay's North Spit,
connecting regional manufacturers to the nation's rail
system at Eugene. The
operating name for the rail line is Coos
Bay Rail Link, with a reporting mark of CBR.
Since the line re-opened, CBR has served 12
inbound and outbound wood products, steel,
aggregate, mineral ore and dairy feed.
freight rail service on the Coos Bay
rail line is essential for future diversification of
the cargoes moving through the Coos Bay harbor and
for support of existing and future industrial
operations and corresponding job retention and
creation in the south coast region.