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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Washington DOT contracts ARG Trans to operate state-owned line


The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has selected ARG Transportation Services (ARG Trans) to operate a 26-mile, state-owned rail line in central Washington between Othello and Royal City.

The goal is to restore rail service on the line — which hasn’t been operated since 1994 — to a portion of Grant County to help farmers get their products to market, WSDOT officials said in a press release.

The state purchased the line in 1993 to prevent it from being abandoned and to preserve rail infrastructure, and later provided $750,000 for line repairs after local interest in rail service was renewed. Trackwork was completed in 2013.

ARG Trans will spend six months determining the commercial interest from prospective shippers along the line that currently use a combination of trucking and rail, WSDOT officials said, adding that the line will be reopened if results are favorable.

"A rail line out of Royal City will be a boon to economic development and another opportunity for local farmers to get their produce to international markets," said State Rep. Matt Manweller.

ARG Trans owns the Coos Bay Rail Link in Oregon and San Pedro & Southwestern Railroad in Arizona. WSDOT issued a request for proposals in February seeking an operator and chose ARG Trans based on its experience in re-establishing rail lines and developing a business plan offering competitive rates to shippers, state officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/22/2014