Home Archives January 2007 Prineville Railway gets chugging thanks to ODOT grant

Prineville Railway gets chugging thanks to ODOT grant

| Print |  Email
Monday, January 01, 2007
PrinevilleRailway0107.jpg

PRINEVILLE — The old children’s fable The Little Engine That Could is the made-to-order analogy for the City of Prineville Railway thanks in part to a $2 million grant from ConnectOregon, a lottery-funded Oregon Department of Transportation program that invests in transportation infrastructure.

The railway, the oldest continuously operated municipal shortline railroad in the United States, will use the money to continue development of a 37-acre freight depot located at a former Prineville lumber mill. It’s a fitting location for a railroad that in its 1970s heyday hauled 10,000 cars of freight, most of it lumber from Prineville’s lucrative mills. As the mills played out, so did the railway, hauling just 87 cars in 2004.

Dale Keller, the railway’s business development manager, credits Rob Corbett, Prineville’s city manager, with recognizing the potential in reviving — and reinventing — the 89-year-old city-owned railroad. That potential included increasing the amount of freight hauled (up to 500 cars in 2006) and offering the ability to unload, transfer and warehouse freight for Central Oregon industries.

The railway’s two mandates are to get the railroad on its feet and create family-wage jobs. “You create that, and the business comes. And it is coming,” says Keller.

The railway connects with both the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern railroads, a unique transportation advantage that translates into savings for companies like LP Engineered Wood in Hines. LP used to truck materials and products to and from Boise, Idaho, but now uses the Prineville freight depot to store materials and to ship products all over North America.

The rails have significantly reduced LP’s transportation costs. “It’s actually an integral part of our shipping operation,” says Jim Campbell, LP plant manager.

The railway negotiated a land trade for the depot site and has made some improvements already, including a heavy-equipment ramp. When it’s completed in about four years (city officials hope to win additional ConnectOregon grants), the depot will handle conventional freight and heavy equipment, operate a warehouse system, and transfer liquids. The first phase will construct an additional rail spur and warehouse, and rebuild an existing structure.

If Prineville can become the next commerce hub for the growing Central Oregon region, the railway might just chug its way into another 89 years.

— Sharon Vail

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Spring thaw

News
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Spring ThawBY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER

The “polar vortex” of 2014 seems to have finally thawed and we believe this change in weather will bring more sunshine to the U.S. economy as well.


Read more...

Spreading the wealth

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
HiResBY PAIGE PARKER

A money management firm broadens its reach. 


Read more...

Banishing oil burners reaps benefits for schools

News
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
04.02.14 thumb co2schoolsBY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Three years ago, PPS set out to begin to convert the 1930s-era boilers from diesel/bunker fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas. Oregon’s largest school district has realized impressive carbon dioxide emissions reductions, setting an example for public and private institutions.


Read more...

What I'm reading: Brad Smith & Travis Boersma

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brad Smith, founder of Hot Pepper Studios, and Travis Boersma, president of Dutch Bros. Coffee, share their recent reads.


Read more...

From the Editor: The human factor

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In this issue, we celebrate our 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project.


Read more...

Workplace benefits

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Health care and vacations rule. That’s the consensus from our reader poll on workplace benefits that help retain and recruit employees.


Read more...

Wheel man

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Les Schwab has put a premium on customer service since 1952, when legendary namesake Les Schwab founded the company with one store in Prineville. (Schwab died in 2007.) But if the corporate principles remain essentially the same, the world around this iconic Oregon business has changed dramatically.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS