Home Back Issues January 2007 Prineville Railway gets chugging thanks to ODOT grant

Prineville Railway gets chugging thanks to ODOT grant

| Print |  Email
Archives - January 2007
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

Rapid ascent

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
IMG 4255-2BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Kelly Dachtler, president of The Clymb, redefines outdoor retail.


Read more...

Reader Input Survey

News
Thursday, April 24, 2014

Click here to fill out our survey on energy and environment issues. Results will be published in our June 2014 issue.


Read more...

Downtime with Ron Green

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Ron Green became president and CEO of Oregon Pacific Bank in August 2013.


Read more...

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...

How to handle the unexpected

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 28, 2014
03.28.14 thumb disasterBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

The next mysterious (or disastrous) event could be one that you or your team might suddenly need to respond to, probably under intense scrutiny.


Read more...

How to help your staff solve their own problems

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 21, 2014
03.21.14 thumb coxcoffeeTOM COX | OB BLOGGER

During a recent talk to HR Directors, I asked if they saw leaders trying to solve every problem, instead of delegating to and empowering staff. Every head nodded. Every single one.


Read more...

Eking out a living

News
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
04.08.14 thumb ourtable-coopfarmsBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

It may be obvious, but most farmers don’t make a lot of money. According to preliminary data from the 2012 Agriculture Census, 52% of America’s 2.1 million principal farm-operators don’t call farming their primary occupation. Farm cooperatives may offer a solution.


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