Submitted by Port of Chehalis
The Port of Chehalis and the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum (CCR&M) are
both pleased to announce the transfer from the port to the CCR&M of the ten-mile Curtis rail line, running between Chehalis and the Boistfort area. Since 1996, the port and the CCR&M have had a lease agreement which has provided the non-profit organization an opportunity to conduct business as a scenic tourist train and to share the history of railroading in the Lewis County area. During that time, the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad has been responsible for maintaining the rail line and utilizing it to promote tourism and economic activity in Lewis County.
When asked what motivated the Port of Chehalis to make this sale, Ken Kostick, Port Commission President, stated, “The port has assisted the CCR&M in their work bringing millions of tourism dollars and many smiles, to our community over the last 23 years. Today they take the next step in controlling their own destiny by acquiring the Curtis rail line and planning for future improvements. Both organizations have cooperated to create this agreement that protects this rail line as a valuable community asset for tourism and recreational uses in the years to come.”
The CCR&M through its use and operations on the Curtis line annually entertains approximately 12,000 people, who spend nearly $218,100 directly on a variety of train excursions. The total positive economic impact to the Chehalis, Centralia and Lewis County area is calculated at $925,661 per year which generates $75,904 in annual state and local tax revenue. According to recent data collected by the organization, 18% of train passengers are from Lewis County and 82% are from outside the county. 91% of riders are from Washington, while 9% are from outside of the state.
Bill Deutscher, president of Chehalis-Centralia Railroad, comments, “We appreciate the ongoing support from the Port of Chehalis. Its efforts have allowed the Chehalis Centralia Railroad & Museum the opportunity to create what has become a popular tourist destination in Chehalis. Their willingness to work with us over the past years puts us in the position to now take on the full responsibility to build a sustainable organization and activity that the community can take pride in.” The purchase agreement mandates that the rail line will continue to be utilized for tourism and was signed on December 17 at 3:00 p.m.