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Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals

February 2008

Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Two Washington state railroads land federal funds


Two short lines that call the state of Washington home last month learned they’ll receive federal funds to help improve operations.

Columbia Basin Railroad Co. will obtain a $3 million Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The short line will use proceeds to purchase 73 miles of track currently leased from BNSF Railway Co. between Connell and Moses Lake.

The acquisition will lower operating costs and enable the short line to upgrade the track to accommodate heavier rail cars.
Under the RRIF program, the FRA provides $35 billion (including $7 billion set aside for regionals and short lines) in direct loans or loan guarantees to eligible parties to acquire, develop or improve rail-related facilities.

Meanwhile, Tacoma Rail will receive more than $750,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The short line will use proceeds to help fund track, tie and signal upgrades along the 131-mile Mountain Division line between Frederickson and Eatonville, Wash.

“This award is part of a multi-year funding strategy that will increase business opportunities and improve overall speed along the line,” said Tacoma Rail Superintendent Paula Henry in a prepared statement.

Owned by the city of Tacoma, the 204-mile short line has received federal funding annually since 2005 — one of only a few publicly held short lines that receive federal appropriations.

Patriot Rail acquires third short line

Patriot Rail Corp.’s portfolio now includes three short lines. Last month, the holding company purchased the Utah Central Railway (UCRY), which operates 34 miles of owned and leased lines in and around Ogden, Utah.

Established in 1995 after leasing track from Union Pacific Railroad, UCRY interchanges with UP and BNSF Railway Co.

“With the demand for quality rail service in the north-central Utah region growing, combined with access to two Class I partners, UCRY will be able to capitalize on a number of new business opportunities that were not available previously,” said Patriot Rail Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Marino in a prepared statement.

Patriot Rail also owns and operates the Tennessee Southern Railroad and Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway.


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