Rail Transportation

Whitman County is served by the PV-Hooper line and the Palouse Line that are parts of the greater Eastern Washington short-line rail system. The line serves Whitman County, parts of Idaho, and interchanges with both the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific Railroad at Ayer, Washington. The State acquired the short lines in 2006 from Watco. This purchase was made in order to preserve the rail and inject State funds into the infrastructure for rehabilitation purposes. The State has requested proposals for rail operators and is in the process of working with local government entities in order to form a rail governance structure. Columbia County is served by the Blue Mountain Railroad. This line is also operated by Watco Companies. The State of Washington Department of Transportation has recently become involved in rail ownership and maintenance in Eastern Washington. Parts of the Great Northwest Railroad line were purchased by the state and leased back to Watco. In the case of the Blue Mountain Railroad, low interest loans were provided to Watco for the repair and upgrading of the line. Cargo handled on these lines include wheat, barley, other grains, peas, lentils, lumber, and fertilizers. Asotin County and Garfield County do not have rail service.

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Serving Asotin, Columbia, Garfield and Whitman Counties