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Bob Hoff 11/21/05 Abandonment plans for Coulee City line
by Bob Hoff, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: November 21, 2005

Washington Ag November 21, 2005 A year ago the state of Washington purchased the rail right of way of the Palouse River and Coulee City Railroad from Marshal to Pullman and a Hooper branch line, and had planned to finalize the purchase this year of the track from Coulee City to Cheney. But the owner of that branch line, Watco is withdrawing from the sale and plans to abandon the right of way. Watco also wants to give its operating rights on the Marshal to Pullman line back to the state and end service. It will continue to operate the Blue Mountain line and the Hooper branch line. On the lines its ending service on Watco says it cant compete for grain shipments against trucks to river barge and grain trucked to a 110-car rail shuttle facility at Ritzville.

Keith Bailey, manager of the Odessa Union Warehouse, has used and would ship again on the Coulee City to Cheney line if rates are competitive.

Bailey: It would be nice if we could sit down and talk about whether or not there was any redeeming value left there for anyone to be economically whole on operating on it. We as shippers need to able to ship at a competitive rate and again we understand that the rail operator and the state also if they end up purchasing it, they have to be able to show some sort of cost-benefit for their operations and ownership.

Bailey says the shutdown of the line curtails the number of markets that can be accessed.

Im Bob Hoff.



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