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A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

What’s with these rail cars?

Written September 19th, 2013 by
Railroad cars as far as the eye can see.

Railroad cars as far as the eye can see.

Almost every ride through the mid-valley countryside makes me ask this question: What the heck is that? Take Thursday, for example.

On this brilliant late-summer afternoon I’m pedaling my two-year old Giant Rincon mountain bike along Midway Road. The road parallels the track of the Albany & Eastern Railroad. And on a siding next to the track, I count 62 railroad cars, white and very tall, with metal sides and what look like refrigeration units on one end. I’m wondering what they are doing there, and by the time I think to ask the A&E, it’s after hours and too late to call.

100_1211Judging by the markings, the cars are associated with Greenbrier, the Lake Oswego-based builder of rail cars and supplier of railroad industry services. On its website, Greenbrier says it “builds new railroad freight cars in its four manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Mexico and marine barges at its U.S. facility. It also repairs and refurbishes freight cars and provides wheels and railcar parts at 36 locations across North America.  …  Greenbrier owns approximately 9,400 rail cars, and performs management services for approximately 228,000 rail cars.”

My guess is that this big fleet of new-looking cars — only one or two were marred by graffiti — was on the A&E siding for storage until they are delivered or needed somewhere. I’ll try to find out for sure, but if anyone knows what they’re doing there, let me know. (hh)

David Moore on Facebook: Maybe they are white United Nations rail cars, perhaps for when China invades the Pacific Northwest.
Pat Eastman onFacebook: Clean slates looking for an Icarus? The rattle can version. :)
Kathy Rogers on Facebook: It has been my opinion for some time that there is sometimes really good art painted on the sides of these railcars. Railcar companies could paint their important info on the cars above the tagging level and take advantage of artistic expression. Waiting at a rail crossing is sometimes like watching a traveling art gallery.


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