Back in 2010 my friend Doug Shirk of Rock Island, WA sent me this email regarding the conditions of the then dormant line from Othello to Royal City:
Date: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 1:32 PM
Subject: Royal Slope Rail Line
Dora and I were in Royal City this morning, and we took the
opportunity to stop at the Port of Royal Slope office and asked the
director what was going on with the rail line. Here goes.....
In about 2008, the Columbia Basin Railroad showed some interest in
working the line....there being some interest in using it by a
decorative stone company in Royal....but dropped it like a hot rock.
Since then, the Port has been actively seeking an operator and yes,
the Eastern Washington Gateway has expressed some interest this
spring, but will not (or doesn't have the money to) rehabilitate the
Over the past year, the Port commissioned a study on how much it would
cost to rehabilitate the WSDOT owned track. They figure $1.5m would
get it in 10 mph shape, and about $9m for 40 mph operation. They're
attempting to get the $1.5m in funding from the state. The Port on
their own have done a little work. One of the Port District directors
has gone over the line and cleared rock slides and other blockages,
and they'd like to go through over the next year and do weed control,
but they haven't done that yet. All work so far has been done on a
The Port later this fall is planning to invite the local state
representatives over to give them a tour of the line, and present
their plan to reopen it, and to this end, they purchased (for $5,000)
a Fairmont speeder to give a tour of the line.
The Port figures at this point, there would be enough traffic to
support operation, but not enough to rehab it, a situation not unlike
what EWG is facing now with the PCC. We didn't have a lot of time to
look at the study done, but it appears to be very comprehensive, and
it would be worth the time to sit down and take a look at it.
And that's the news from beautiful Royal City. Any questions? Ask
me. I probably left something out.
Rock Island, WA