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Rail - Palouse River and Coulee City RR - Acquisition and Rehabilitation - Complete July 2011

Overview

WSDOT rehabilitated the PCC Rail System infrastructure which has suffered from many years of deferred maintenance.

The work being done will help ensure that the railroads can operate without substantial interruption of service until 2014.

Projects developed with the assistance of the operating railroads, a consultant and the PCC Rail Authority were awarded in June and July 2009 and are now complete.

Work included:

  • A drainage rehabilitation project was awarded in August 2010 and was completed in June 2011. 
  • A bridge rehabilitation project was awarded in September 2010 and construction was completed in the Spring of 2011.
  • A fence project on the CW Branch right-of-way was awarded in May 2011. Construction was completed in July 2011.

How You Benefit
Cross GlyphImproves Safety
Minimize the added wear and tear on state roadways caused each year by thousands of heavy truckloads
Dollar Sign Glyph Economic Incentive
Lower shipping costs and preserve jobs at rail-dependent industries

Partnerships & Cooperation
Washington state owns the former PCC Rail System, which consists of three branches. WSDOT purchased the rights of way and rail in the P & L Branch and PV Hooper Branch of the PCC in November 2004. Purchase of the CW Branch and the remaining rights in the other two branches was completed in May 2007.

WSDOT contracted with private railroads to operate each of the branches. The Palouse River and Coulee City Railroad operates the PV Hooper Branch; the Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad operates the CW Branch; and the Washington and Idaho Railway operates the P & L Branch.

WSDOT oversees the facilities and regulatory portions of the operating leases. The PCC Rail Authority-an intergovernmental entity formed by Grant, Lincoln, Spokane and Whitman counties-oversees the business and economic development portions of the operating leases. Joe Poire, Executive Director of the Port of Whitman,chairs the PCC Rail Authority. 

Public ownership of the PCC capital assets provides an opportunity for private operators to provide economically viable rail service to shippers along the lines.

Rehabilitation is needed to correct the effects of decades of deferred maintenance. Many places along the lines must be operated at a speed lower than would be allowed if the lines had been properly maintained on an ongoing basis. Rehabilitation will prevent further deterioration, help raise operating speeds in some locations, and make the operation of the lines more efficient and commercially viable.

Funding

  • 2003 Legislative Transportation Package (New & Used Vehicle Sales Tax) - $20.7 million
  • 2005 Legislative Transportation Package - $7 million
  • Total Funding From All Sources - $27.7 million

Contact Us
Freight Systems Division
PO Box 47407
Olympia, WA 98504-7407
360-705-7932
freight@wsdot.wa.gov

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