The in basket: A couple of years ago I wrote a column explaining the long row of empty container-carrying railroad cars that lined I-5 for what seemed like miles just north of Centralia.
They had been idled by the economic slump, I had learned, and were essentially mothballed until they were needed to resume container shipments from the West Coast to other parts of the nation.
On a trip through that area the second week of July, I noticed they were gone. I decided to find out if they had been put to work, when they were hauled away and to where.
The out basket: Dale King of Tacoma Rail, an arm of the city of Tacoma which owns those tracks, said they aren’t actually all gone. But a lot of them have been removed, some to be scrapped.
“The cars are not all gone but some are just no longer in sight of the adjacent highways,” he said. “The cars have been slowly moving out of storage for rehabilitation by their new owner, Greenbrier Leasing.
“Those that are not repairable are being scrapped at Schnitzer Steel in Tacoma and Portland,” he said. “At the rate they are moving, there is still about two years’ supply hidden in the woods.”
Though Tacoma owns the tracks, he said, “they are currently operated by a new start-up company, Western Washington Railroad, who is leasing the line from Maytown down to Chehalis.
“This portion of the Mountain Division is for sale and the city is currently negotiating a purchase agreement with Lewis County.
“The intermodal flat cars were owned by GATX Leasing when they were put into storage and then sold by GATX to Greenbrier Leasing about two years ago,” Dale said.