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Track out ahead: Siskiyou Summit rail project delayed

By Greg Stiles | Mail Tribune Sunday September 20, 2015    5:47 PM
The long-awaited completion of the $13 million Siskiyou Summit Railroad Revitalization project, stretching 60 miles south of Ashland, is going to take a little bit longer.

For months, the target date for completion has been September or early October, but work will take at least a few more weeks than that, Oregon Department of Transportation and Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad representatives say.

"Construction isn't complete yet," said Kelly Sparkman, ODOT's agency liaison for southwestern Oregon. An array of track work, tie installation, surfacing and some bridge repairs remain, she said. "But the bridge work is pretty minor, not structural." The Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad short line working the 296-mile stretch of Union Pacific-owned track between Eugene and Weed, Calif., has kept busy running between the Rogue and Willamette valleys following line repairs in Josephine and Douglas counties. But it may be a couple of months before CORP's GP38 and SD40 locomotives journey south of Ashland.

"As long as we're in the process of construction, we're not ready to nail down a specific date," said Don Seil, CORP's general manager of project development. "It'll be sometime in the last quarter of the year."

CORP has 65 employees, with about 25 percent working in Jackson County. When trains last snaked their way over the Siskiyous in 2008, the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad was ... [Full Story]