From the "Grant County Journal." Ephrata, WA
April 4, 1996
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. said it will sell 227 miles of track in Eastern Washington and northern Idaho for potential short line operators.
The properties being sold include the 108 mile Coulee City branch from Cheney to Coulee City, a 47-mile line from Palouse to Bovill, Idaho, and a 122-mile branch from Marshall to Arrow, Idaho.
The segments being sold include a Moscow-to-Arrow, Idaho, branch that was abandoned in 1984 and a line from Harvard, Idaho to Bovill, Idaho, that is currently restricted.
The company is soliciting bids for the lines, track, right-of-way and other structures, but will retain mineral, water and other rights, spokesman Doug Babb said Monday from company headquarters at Fort Worth, Texas.
"The local focus of a short line allows it to remain in very close contact with shippers, which often translates into service better tailored to customers' specific needs," Babb said.
Also, reduced costs of short lines can lead to reduced costs for shippers and improved chances for survival of marginal lines, he said.
The railroad hopes to find buyers who will keep the short lines alive for the region's shippers, Babb said.
There will also be reciprocal switching agreements between the short haul lines and Burlington Northern, he said.
The company hopes to complete the sales by July, 31, Babb said.