LSR Barge to Rail Analysis and Proposal for Resilience

UPDATE Oct. 2023: Rosalia to Pasco Shortline Access Rail Corridor

In early September 2023, Solutionary Rail convened a technical retreat in Pullman, WA to refine our rail transportation proposal for SE WA. Our team included a rail planner, wheat farmer, rail bridge engineer, locomotive engineer, shortline railroad owner, LSR freight expert, and others. They worked hard to incorporate what we heard from stakeholders and the of the past year. The outcome is a yet more elegant path forward that achieves the critical transportation goals for connectivity, capacity and competition. We are calling it the Rosalia to Pasco Shortline Access Rail Corridor.

Though our previous recommendations remain valid and relevant, this targeted proposal provides focus and guidance for immediate action. We hope that you will check out the new slidedeck and share it with others.

A special thank you to rail expert Tom White for his skilled analysis and renderings.

PREVIOUS WORK: Barge to Rail summary of findings, scoping language for studies & Governor Inslee's 2023-2025 budget:

  1. Two-sheet LSR Barge to Rail Summary with 2023 session guidance for Washington state only. (No Idaho recommendations included.) HERE
  2. One-sheet LSR Barge to Rail Summary only HERE
  3. 2023 Legislative Budget Items/Study Scope for Gov. Inslee HERE
  4. (Click on map to open larger version in a new window.)

    Click on the three dots above for the Google Slides menu. You can control playback speed and other aspects there. 
    Open the speaker notes for additional explanatory information on the slides. 
    Here's a video presentation of the above slides:


    Click HERE for a PDF of our Summer 2022 Planning for Resilience Barge to Rail Mode Shift at the Lower Snake River Action Steps document summarizing the actions documented in the slidedeck (Washington and Idaho).

    Click HERE for an excerpt on Rail Capacity for Grain Movement by Tom White. His full report Grain by Rail in Eastern Washington from which we draw for aspects of the above slidedeck is HERE. Tom focuses on the WA rail service within 40 miles of the Lower Snake River. He details the rail service capacity along the river from Lewiston to Ayer and demonstrates its potential for fulfilling the increased transportation needs post-breaching. Tom's detailed energy analysis provides valuable insights into the traction vs braking energy ratio. We utilize this finding for the basis of our argument for electrification of shortline railroads servicing this area and the Camas Prairie. (Note about the Full Report: The energy unit (KWh) is a bug in the modeling program, but we believe that the ratios between traction and braking energy remain accurate. This should be further explored to confirm and/or refine the potential for electrification and re-capturing energy through regenerative braking.)

    Thank you Tom White for your excellent work on an impossible timeline. Thank you as well to our allies whose work we've incorporated. Special thanks to Mitch Cutter of Idaho Conservation League, Lin Laughy, Robert Heacock, Paul Didelius, Dean Ferguson, Ken Kirschling, Don Schwerin, and all the community members and industry specialists who shaped our understanding, corrected our misunderstandings and continue to help us refine a transportation plan the provides solutions for all those impacted by this course correction to preserve salmon and steelhead for future generations. All errors are mine and mine alone.

    Please send questions, suggestions or corrections to [email protected]

    In collaboration, 

    Bill Moyer
    Solutionary Rail

    Here's our newest map/"1-sheet" comparing the current rail system with improvements and additions that ought to be studied:
    (Click on map to open larger version in a new window.)