The Lava Fire, still burning near Mount Shasta in Northern California, damaged a portion of the Union Pacific Railroad on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The damage has forced freight traffic to reroute, created delays and cancellations for Amtrak passengers, and has left Klamath Falls without passenger rail service.
The Coast Starlight train will not serve stops between Eugene and Sacramento until at least mid-July, according to Amtrak.
South of the fire, the Coast Starlight will operate only between Los Angeles and Sacramento. Customers north of the fire can continue to travel between Seattle and Eugene, but trains from either direction are no longer arriving in Klamath Falls.
“We are certain the outage will extend into some or all of August and are looking at what is the best option for the next several weeks,” said Marc Magliari, public relations manager for Amtrak government affairs and corporate communications on Thursday.
The portion of the tracks scorched by the Lava Fire east of Highway 97 near Hotlum, Calif., is known as the Dry Canyon Bridge. Union Pacific engineers have been assessing the damage, UP said in an announcement posted June 29.
The damage to the rail infrastructure is impacting its operations between Redding, Calif. and Eugene, noting that customers may experience delays in excess of 72 hours.
Robynn Tysver, a spokesperson for Union Pacific told the Herald and News in an email Tuesday that crews are no longer actively fighting the fire on UP property.
“We can now turn our attention and energy to repairing both our tracks and the Dry Canyon Bridge damaged by the fires,” Tysver said. “The repair work is underway.”
How long that will take is uncertain.
“We are still assessing the damage and we do not have a timetable for when this work will be done, or how long freight trains will be diverted over Donner Pass” Tysver added.
— Reporter Joe Siess can be reached at (541)-885-4481 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jomsiess