Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Railworks will return rails to repair site near Pampa


April 11, 2019

The neatly manicured worksite has renewed rail bed ballast supported by tons of rip rap rock that extend down to the edge of Willow Creek.

A crew from Railworks Track Systems, Airway Heights, this week will restore the railroad tracks to the repair site at Pampa. Railworks, which has offices around the country, is a subcontractor for Shamrock Construction, which finished up riprap fill on the bank at Willow Creek where an earth slide shut down the Palouse River railroad.

Bob Westby, director of the PCC rail system for the state Department of Transportation, said Railworks is expected to have the track back in place by Friday or Saturday at the latest. The tracks were removed so Shamrock could get trucks and equipment on the site to dump and distribute the riprap rock.

Official deadline for completing the contract is Saturday. Westby said the DOT has asked shippers to allow a couple days of leeway just in case the repair job encounters an unforeseen snag in the final days. He expects the first train will make a run on the repaired line Monday or Tuesday.

Collins noted the PCC recognizes McGregor Co. needs to get the rail line in service to supply demand for spring application work and grain shippers want to get the line back in operation.

Fresh rail ties await the final phase of the project, replacement of the ties and rails on the reconstructed rail bed.

Westby said Shamrock landed the contract for the job with a low bid of $480,000 and some additions to the contract put the cost of the repair close to $500,000. One of the contract additions was to install drain pipe which is intended to help reduce water buildup in the area.

Crews from Shamrock completed installation of the riprap rock last week and replaced and graded ballast for the railroad bed.

New railroad ties were delivered to the construction site near Highway 26 mile marker 100 west of Pampa Pond.

Sections of the rail and ballast were removed to provide dump trucks access to the fill area work along the north bank of Willow Creek.

Sections of the rail were placed along the railroad bed at the west end of the construction site.

Railroad shipments on the line were halted after the Jan. 23 slide along the north bank of Willow Creek left a sheer soil face.


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