Coos Bay sees first train in 5 years

Rail activity will increase as construction materials flow
2012-10-15T09:45:00Z 2012-10-15T13:07:26Z Coos Bay sees first train in 5 yearsBy Jessie Higgins, The World Coos Bay World
October 15, 2012 9:45 am  • 

COOS BAY — Car horns, snapshots and smiles welcomed the first locomotive in five years into town.

Friday morning, a Coos Bay Rail Link engine crossed the Coos Bay Rail Bridge and slowly made its way through town, eventually stopping beside U.S. Highway 101 in the Coos Bay rail yard.

“That was too much attention,” a smiling Randy King said. The engineer had just hopped off the locomotive, stopped in the rail yard. Right away, a small group gathered to take pictures of the bright blue engine.

The locomotive will remain parked in the yard over the weekend, said Elise Hamner, spokeswoman for the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay.

The rail line through town is not yet officially open to trains. CBRL plans to use the locomotive to bring in construction material and equipment into town to do repairs on the line.

“The railroad wanted to run its equipment across before it sent contractors across,” Hamner said.

It’s unclear when rehabilitation work will officially begin, Hamner added.

Since the railroad has been closed for five years, workers manned each intersection in town Friday to ensure equipment worked properly and people followed safety procedures.

“It’s the first train, so we have to be out there flagging at all the crossings,” Hamner said. “We’ve got to make sure everyone is safe.”

Rail lines in town have been empty since Sept. 2007, when the railroad between Eugene and Coos Bay closed. The coastal railway corridor’s previous owners cited deferred maintenance issues shortly before abandoning it. So, the port bought the derelict railway and began raising funds for its repair. So far, the port has raised about $30 million in state and federal money for rehabilitation work.

Although the work is still underway, the port reopened the line between Eugene and the North Spit in October 2011. The port eventually plans to restore service to Coquille.

“People will see more and more action as (work) crews move this way,” Hamner said.

Now that activity on the railroad is starting up, the port reminds everyone that it is against federal law to trespass on railroad tracks, except at designated public crossings.

Reporter Jessie Higgins can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 240, or

Copyright 2015 Coos Bay World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. bes
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    bes - October 17, 2012 5:43 pm
    I wonder if anyone knows how many hundreds of thousands of people visit great places every year? I wonder if Coos Bay could be one of those places. A place with cool lodges with big fireplaces to stay in, a beautiful bay to boat in, biking trails, boating regattas, festivals, tourism, restaurants, cool shops filled with local handmade artisan crafts, candies, and coffees, why someone may even want to put a golf course on the north spit. Way neater than an industrial wasteland. Just thinking.
  2. bes
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    bes - October 17, 2012 5:34 pm
    Who's bashing? It's an analogy. A comparison of foolishness. Ok, lets' go ahead then. Burn coal, sell coal. I know where the jobs will be. At the hospital taking care of all the sick people from the use of coal one way or another. Better paying jobs too. Well, not better than the market men , they make billions. That's why they want it. We are disposable,unnecessary, save a few guys working..but hey, coal dust is poisonous. All those great wages they'll make, they might get lucky and live.
  3. 701 operating engineer
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    701 operating engineer - October 17, 2012 11:32 am
    Really Bes? Now enviromentalists are bashing Europeans? You mention a time in railroading when 6000 rail workers a year were killed in the industry and like hauling freight, great strides have been made to make it a safer more responsible industry.

    I question how encouraging potentially thousands of "eco tourist" to tromp on OUR "beautiful" coastal lands is going to have a lesser impact on OUR enviroment? I'd say if "eco tourism" closes this region to industry,..than you can't use it either....
  4. Bulldog_79
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    Bulldog_79 - October 16, 2012 5:38 pm
    Oh that would be like totally awesome bes. I mean like everybody could like have a like service industry wage like job and maybe get tips while like working for like sub minimum wage. And like they could still be on public assistance for the 9 months of the year like when people don't like come to the coast. Like these would be like totally cool like career jobs. sarcasm/off.
    Out respect for the less fortunate, I will refrain from using the "R" word to describe your comment.
  5. Anderson
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    Anderson - October 16, 2012 3:24 pm
    Mass transit would be pretty sweet.
  6. GoodGrief
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    GoodGrief - October 16, 2012 10:37 am
    Great comment bes!
  7. bes
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    bes - October 12, 2012 4:40 pm
    How cool. People love trains. Kids love trains. Just hope they don't haul foolish Europeans who shoot all the buffalo again. Will we ever learn about destruction of our beautiful earth? Of course, this is analogous to transporting coal as a terrible pollutant. Can't we just have mass transit on these trains bringing folks to our beautiful southern Oregon coast as tourists? We have so much to see and do here. Gees, we could thrive as a eco-tourist adventure spot for kayaking, biking and beaches.
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