March 13, 2014
For Immediate Release:
North America’s leading railroad transportation industry trade publication, Railway Age, has selected the Coos Bay Rail Link – CBR as the 2014 Short Line of the Year. The magazine singled out CBR for the prestigious award because of the short line’s entrepreneurial spirit that has helped rail shippers in Coos, Lane and Douglas Counties become more efficient and competitive, and grow their operations.
“Backed by new owner Oregon International Port of Coos Bay, Coos Bay Rail Link has overcome negative media coverage and a skeptical public to show it means business – literally,” said Railway Age Managing Editor Douglas John Bowen.
The previous rail line owner, a private hedge fund company, halted service on the 134-mile rail line in September 2007. Within two years, the Port bought the line and started rehabilitation. It soon contracted with a rail operator and CBR re-opened the line in October 2011. Since that first month, CBR has gone from 20 carloads and two customers to a record 636 cars and 13 customers in January 2014.
“We created something out of nothing,” CBR’s former General Manager Tom Foster said. “Together, we revived a transportation link vital to rural Oregon manufacturers and businesses that trade nationally and globally. We’re ecstatic about this honor.” Foster now serves as vice president of marketing for CBR’s parent company, ARG Transportation Services of Eugene, Ore.
The Port has relied heavily on the assistance of private and public partners, including Oregon’s congressional delegation, to purchase the rail line and invest more than $31 million into its rehabilitation.
“I commend the Port of Coos Bay for stepping up to the plate so quickly after the previous owners of the rail line abruptly shut the line down in 2007,” Rep. Peter DeFazio said today. “The closure could’ve spelled economic disaster, but thanks to our team effort, we salvaged a rail line that is integral to local businesses and the communities they serve. The restoration of the rail line was an outstanding achievement and it deserves this national recognition.”
Railway Age credits short lines, including CBR, with being drivers of commerce helping the nation with its economic recovery. “Rather than giving up and succumbing to economic nightmare, this community made a decision to dream big, fight for our future and to take on the daunting task of resurrecting a railroad,” Port CEO David Koch said. “Today, we are both humbled and honored by Coos Bay Rail Link’s selection as Railway Age’s 2014 Short Line of the Year. The success we have achieved on this railroad is a testament to the power of collaboration and what we can achieve when we pull together for a common goal.”
For additional media information, please contact:
Elise Hamner, Communications Manager, Oregon International Port of Coos Bay
Phone 541.267.7678 / Email email@example.com