As you can see in this video, the Portland & Western’s project to build a new rail link in Albany remains stalled at Main Street, where the track stops. The idea is to connect the railroad’s Millersburg yard with the Toledo Branch line so freights coming across the Willamette River bridge no longer have to enter the Union Pacific mainline, as they do now, for a couple hundred yards. I’ve asked for an update on this project, in the works for about five years, and will report details when I get them.
The update (July 8): Bob Melbo, state rail planner, says the rail link, the so-called Santiam Lead, is supposed to be finished by the end of this year, according to the sixth amendment of an agreement between ODOT and Portland & Western. The project has a budget of $8,738,195, of which the state is supplying $6,990,516 under the ConnectOregon II funding program. The grant agreement was signed on June 1, 2009. Melbo says two complications resulted in delays. One was a slope stabilization problem at the Millersburg yard north of Albany’s Talking Water Gardens. The other was the design for getting the second track across Main Street and also signalizing the existing wye track at Madison Street. The Madison signals are not part of the original project, and the railroad is paying for those on its own. The extra signals were considered necessary because both the new lead and the mainline might have trains going through at the same time.