On track: CBRR eyes Warden for expansion opportunities

For the Basin Business Journal | May 3, 2022 1:00 AM

WARDEN — The Columbia Basin Railroad is in talks with the Port of Warden and the city of Warden to buy about 20 acres of city-owned and port-owned land and subsequently expand the railroad’s operations in Warden.

According to CBRR President Brig Temple, the railroad has been eyeing a roughly 300-foot by 2,800-foot patch of land just south of its current operations in Warden for some time as a good place to build a switching yard and park rail cars.

“It’s surrounded by rail,” Temple said. “We’re looking at a switching yard, switching cars, storing cars, stuff we’ve been wanting to do for a while.”

Warden City Administrator Kristine Shuler said the city and the railroad have both agreed the land sale is workable, and that the next step is to get the land surveyed and negotiate a price.

“They have so many cars here and they are running out of space,” Schuyler said.

Pat Millard, executive director of the Port of Warden, said the port is also working with the railroad, but that it will be some time before a final sale can be worked out.

“We have to go through all the steps,” Millard said.

Temple said the CBRR, which is the short line railroad that connects Warden, Othello and Moses Lake with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe mainline in Connell, is looking at future expansion projects currently under way by both the Port of Warden and the Port of Moses Lake.

Millard said the Port of Warden does have new projects in the works, but was unable to provide any details.

“We have lots of things going on, but we can’t talk about them,” Millard said.

The projects coming up and CBRR’s desire to expand appear to be lining up at this time though.

“We need more room,” Temple explained. “And (the property in Warden) is an excess piece of property which is long and skinny and that’s what we like.”

Temple said the deal is still being worked out and there is no estimate of what the purchase will cost the railroad.

The Port of Moses Lake is also planning a major extension of CBRR line from Wheeler through to the Port.