Capdiamont\’s Weblog

CO2 emissions increased dramatically by closure of POTB Railroad
Saturday 12 Jul 2008, 08:19
Filed under: NCRA, Railroad

This is another publicly owned railroad. True, they are currently washed out by last year’s December flooding, but over 80% of previous flood repairs are still intact. Proving once again, newer understanding and tech can solve problems on problematic railroads, such as the NWP. Nothing is perfect, but we need to move forward. We will not have any high paying jobs without the railroad.

Restoration of service on the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad
would not only have a positive effect on local shippers and the
economy, but also on the environment. Data from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency indicates that the increased truck
traffic resulting from the rail closure has dramatically increased
CO2 emissions, a component of global climate change.

The closing of the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad is adding
nearly 300 truck trips into and out of Tillamook County each
week, or approximately 15,500 trips annually, to carry freight
formerly carried by the train. These trucks travel 75 miles to
transfer points in Portland and Salem. The average truck gets a
maximum of 6 miles per gallon of diesel fuel, or roughly 12.5
gallons of diesel fuel expended per trip.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a single
gallon of diesel fuel contributes 22.2 pounds of CO2 to the
air. Thus, a one-way truck trip of 75 miles would generate 277.5
pounds of CO2 . Multiplied by 15,500 truck trips per year, this
equals 4.3 million pounds of CO2 generated annually by the
trucks that will be hauling what was once hauled by the Port of
Tillamook Bay Railroad.
It is estimated that trains are from 4 to 9 times more fuel efficient
than trucks at distances of less than 100 miles. If we assume
that 4/5 of the emissions from trucks could be offset by
using rail, that means that switching to trucks from the railroad
adds an additional 3.44 million pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a carbon calculator
on its Web site (
calculator.html). Using that site, it can be determined
that 3.44 million pounds of CO2 is equivalent to any one of the
• Annual greenhouse gas emissions from 571,726 passenger
vehicles. That is the equivalent of approximately 40 percent
of all the passenger cars registered in the state of Oregon.
• Carbon absorbed annually by 709,460 acres of pine or fir
forests. That is an area equal to 90 percent of all the forestlands
managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry and
nearly twice the size of the Tillamook State Forest.
• CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 413,460 homes for
one year. (The City of Portland has approximately 250,000
homes, according to the U.S. Census)
• CO2 emissions from the energy use of 275,518 homes for
one year – more than all the homes within the city of Portland.
• Carbon absorbed by 80 million tree seedlings during their
first 10 years of life. (That’s as many seedlings as are replanted
by Oregon foresters each year.)
• Carbon absorbed annually by 21,773 acres of rainforest preserved
from deforestation.
• CO2 emissions from burning 16,248 railcars’ worth of coal.
• Greenhouse gas emissions avoided by recycling 1 million
tons of waste instead of sending it to the landfill.
• Annual CO2 emissions of 0.67 coal-fired power plants.



Before the advent of the RR, logs and lumber were trucked only as far as Garibaldi, from thence on to ocean going barges, and to Astoria for RR, or on to Portland for unloading.

The logs/lumber could be RR to Garibaldi,(that portion of the RR IS working still) then on an ocean going barge to Astoria and RR, or to Portland area. There would be NO truck traffic involved in this. Grain, feed, and other commodities could come in the same way.

Why is no one pushing for this truckless solution?
Garibaldi was once a thriving commercial port – with some updates (less than the cost of fixing the RR, it could be again.)

Comment by marci

I and the port looked into this as well as ODOT. There is no infrastructure to barge out. Significant dredging would also be needed in Tillamook Bay or Nehalem Bay, which has more “draft”. Astoria no longer has ocean barge or RR facilities. Nearest is Tongue Point, also no facilities. There is a facility in Rainier, OR.
Leasing ocean barge and tug is “prohibitive”, about $40,000 per round trip and a few hundred thousand up front for prep. This does NOT include infrastructure or port labor, usually union-only a lease barge, tug crew and tug. And the list goes on. And what about tug’s carbon footprint?

Comment by louis weinberg

Comments are closed.

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