<HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE>96 3 Railroads Divvy up Short-line System, Scott Yates, Capital Press</TITLE> </HEAD> <body bgcolor="FFFFFF" text="000000" link="0000FF" vlink="FF0000" alink="0000FF"> <basefont face="Arial, Tahoma, Times New Roman" size="3" color="#000033"> <TABLE border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0"> <TR align="left" valign="top"> <td><small> <A href="https://sgi25.netservers.net/bluefish.org/thefilm.htm">the film</A><br> <A href="forum.htm">forum</A><br> <A href="library.htm">library</A><br> <A href="tutorial.htm">tutorial</A><br> <A href="contact.htm">contact</A> </small></td> <TD> <A href="economic.htm"><img src="images/economic.gif" border="0" width="110" height="110" align="center" alt="Economic and dam related articles"></a> <TD> <CENTER><FONT FACE="Arial, Helvetica" COLOR="0000FF"> <strong><BIG><H2 align="center">3 Railroads Divvy up Short-line System</H2> </BIG></STRONG></FONT><FONT COLOR="FF0000">by Scott Yates <BR>Capital Press, May 25, 2007</FONT></CENTER> </TABLE> <HR> <p align="center"> Wash. state now owns longest railway in Lower 48 <p align="left"> Watco is still working on the railroad, but now so are U.S. Rail Partners and the Washington and Idaho Railway. All three will service what had been solely Watco's turf as part of Washington state's short-line railroad system. <p> With approximately 350 miles of track, the state-owned railroad is the largest in the continental U.S. Only Alaska's government-owned rail line is longer. The state purchased the short-line system over a number of years at a cost of about $18 million. The final purchase was finalized May 11. <p> Washington's short-haul rail lines, which were abandoned by Class I railroads like BNSF and Union Pacific as they concentrated on more-profitable coast-to-coast routes, primarily aid the wheat industry. It's not just about getting the grain to market. As an alternative to truck/barge, the presence of a working rail line keeps transportation prices in check. <p> For its part, the state's purchase allows it to support a traditional industry while maintaining the infrastructure that could one day be the linchpin of a rural revitalization effort. For the public's part, use of the railroad system reduces wear and tear on state highways by putting fewer grain trucks on the road. <p> Although Watco argued the lines weren't profitable, the state's call for companies to operate them found six bidders for each line for a total of five entities. Mike Rowswell, special initiatives manager for the Department of Transportation rail office, said the bidders were scored according to a variety of factors. <p> U.S. Rail Partners, based in Des Plaines, Ill., will operate what is referred to as the CW Line from Coulee City to Cheney. The company will operated under the name Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad. <p> The Washington and Idaho Railway, based in Lewiston, will operate what is known as the P&L line, which runs from Marshall to Pullman and on to the Idaho border. <p> Watco did not bid, but the railroad will continue to operate the PV Hooper line, which runs from Thornton to Hooper and Colfax to Hooper because of a longstanding agreement with UP to use its track. The deal was not transferable. Watco also continues to operate the Blue Mountain Railroad. It is owned jointly by UP and the Port of Columbia and shuttles grain from Walla Walla to Wallula. <p> Rowswell said the state sees the short-haul rail lines as a collaboration that will involve the state, shippers and the new operators "to grow business and make it work." He said the state's role at this point is to oversee the process. Eventually, the state hopes to spin off its railway holdings to rail districts created by local government. <p> As a subcontractor for Watco, the Washington and Idaho railroad already has locomotives on the P&L track. U.S. Railway has purchased two engines in Montana and are the process of overhauling them. They should be on the CW line by June. <p> Washington County Map.  Snake River borders Asotin, Garfield, Columbia, Walla Walla, Whitman, Franklin counties <HR> <strong>Scott Yates</strong> is based in Spokane.<br> <A href="http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2005114721"> <I>3 Railroads Divvy up Short-line System</I></a><BR> <strong>Capital Press</STRONG>, May 25, 2007 <HR> <P align="center"><CENTER> <BIG><strong>See what you can learn</STRONG></BIG><P> <A href="topic.htm">learn more on topics covered in the film</A><BR> <A href="https://sgi25.netservers.net/bluefish.org/video.htm">see the video</A><BR> <A href="script.htm">read the script</A><BR> <A href="songs.htm">learn the songs</A><BR> <A href="forum.htm">discussion forum</A><BR> <IMG src="salmon_swimming_md_wht.gif" width=150 height=70 alt="salmon animation"> </CENTER> </basefont> </body> </HTML>