Re: WRIX train in Coos Bay Oregon
Date: 01-10-2020 - 12:10
The original operations were contracted to Arizona Rail Group. To my knowledge, the employees and engines were theirs. The Port of Coos Bay, the line's owner, had substantial control over the operator and was heavily involved in obtaining additional infrastructure upgrade grants and managing those projects.
The Port's management and Board changed over the years, and they evidently tried to exert more control over the contract operator in their desire to be Rail Barons. I'm not sure what exactly happened, it may have been the Port wanting more of a say or making demands which were incompatible with ARG's business plan or contract, the belief that ARG was in violation of their contract, or ??? The Port set up a separate subsidy to actually run the railroad (due to liability and Railroad Retirement reasons), and invited ARG to leave/pushed them out and/or took legal action. This was about the same time that the drawbridge at Coos Bay had failed requiring many of their customers to reload, and I think G-P announced the closure of their Coos Bay mill about the same time. I'm sure this was an issue with ARG. The Port runs the railroad themselves now, their engines (most leased from WRIX/Western Rail) and employees.
Rumor has it that one of ARG's GP30s they used at Coos Bay will be returning as part of the final settlement.