Frieght trains return to Coos Bay this month

Frieght trains return to Coos Bay this month
COOS BAY, Ore.-- After more than five years of empty tracks running through Coos Bay and North Bend, freight trains will now return to the bay area.

The Port of Coos Bay says repairs to the tracks have been completed, and now all eyes are on the swing bridge that connects trains from the North Spit, across the bay and into North Bend.

"The issues we have are with the swing bridge," said Coos Bay Rail Link Roadmast Darrell Rodley. "We have a few more mechanical issues to get around to with the swing bridge, and then we'll be here."

Rodley said if residents see the swing bridge move, that would indicate that trains will be crossing that same bridge in just a matter of days.

"Beginning what we'll do is a few trips a week," Rodley said. "The trains will take their loaded cars across the [bay]."

Since being left in ruins by a hedge fund in 2007, companies have had to ship their products via large trucks to the North Spit where it was then loaded on the trains and taken to Eugene. With rail service returning, Coos Bay companies can now pocket those additional shipping costs since they will be recieving front door train service.

But the main things The International Port of Coos Bay is asking is that people get off the tracks they have become so use to seeing train-less.

"Obviously trains coming through town will be going 10 miles-per-hour. They're not that fast, but don't expect them to stop if you're standing right in the way," said Elise Hamner, Port of Coos Bay spokeswoman.

The Port is concerned that an incident similar to one that occured in Eugene in late-September will happen again. A man on a bicycle was killed after he rode his bike in front of an Amtrak train police believe he didn't see coming because he had earphones in while he was riding.

"We're required to ring its bell and blow its whistle intermitantly through the crossing, and that's what this is is just one long crossing. You'll hear the whistle," said Rodley.

But the port is asking people to stay off the tracks at all times.

"Perfect example here comes a vehicle driving right down the middle of the tracks behind us," Hamner said while pointing out a car driving down Front Street in Coos Bay. "People need to stay off the tracks when they're driving down front street for example."

The Port of Coos Bay is offering safety classes to local schools and children's groups, and anyone interested can sign up by calling the port.

In all, Coos Bay Rail Link officials said it is best for you to see the situation as real trains on real tracks that can cause real injuries that you really don't want to experience.