Rail

What is a short line railroad?
America’s short line railroads provide efficient and environmentally friendly transportation services for local businesses, employers and communities around the country. They operate nearly 30 percent of the nation’s total railroad mileage, more than 50,000 miles of railroad track.

Short line railroads employ nearly 20,000 people and create and support countless more American jobs for industries that use the rails. They serve more than 13,000 facilities and haul over 14 million carloads per year.

What is a common carrier line?

A common carrier railroad provides freight or passenger transportation services to the general public and customers and holds itself out as ready and willing to serve the public, indifferently, for such transportation. Determining that the project was in the public interest, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) granted SGRR the authority to build and operate the single-track common carrier railroad near Dunlay.

Why is rail a preferred transportation method?
Short line railroads lower costs, reduce congestion, improve highway safety, and serve as a good choice for the environment.

Did you know?

  • One rail freight car can carry the equivalent of four 18-wheel truck loads.
  • Railroads consume almost a third less fuel than trucks per ton mile moved.
  • One rail car can carry a ton of cargo 436 miles on a single gallon of fuel.
What are the economic benefits of rail?

The life-blood of many communities, short line railroads are providing economic opportunities and restoring connections to thousands of local communities and small businesses. For small businesses, the ability to use short line railroads means lower costs, more flexible local service and a greatly expanded market reach for local products. Short lines provide businesses and local farmers with access to world markets by connecting them to the national rail network.

The Medina Line

What is the status of the project?

Determining that the project was in the public interest, in 2008, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board granted Southwest Gulf Railroad Company (SGRR) the authority to build and operate The Medina Line, a 9-mile single-track common carrier railroad near Dunlay, Texas. The subsequent economic recession slowed development of the line. We are committed to Medina County and look forward to working with the community to generate new jobs, new tax revenues and spur economic growth for the County and its residents while providing local businesses with a low-cost and convenient connection to the regional, national and global marketplace.

Which route will The Medina Line take?

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board approved three possible routes for The Medina Line in 2008. We are committed to the Modified Eastern Bypass Route, determined by our engineers and environmental experts to be the optimal route.

When will The Medina Line be complete?

Following design, engineering and construction, we anticipate The Medina Line will be operational in late 2018.

Who gave SGRR authority to build the line?

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board determined that the project was in the public interest and gave SGRR approval to build and operate The Medina Line in 2008 after a lengthy and thorough approval process.

Who will operate the line?

Southwest Gulf Railroad Company.

Operations, Safety & the Environment

Who will use the line?

As a common carrier, The Medina Line is available to serve businesses, customers and shippers located on or near the line. A safe and efficient transportation link, the line’s initial, anchor customer will be Vulcan Materials’ Medina Quarry, an existing limestone quarry at the northern end of the line operated by SGRR’s parent company, Vulcan Materials Company. SGRR and Union Pacific Railroad are working together to actively market The Medina Line and development opportunities to customers.

How many rail cars will the trains transport? How many times a day will trains go by?

As a single track line, train traffic is limited compared to Class II or Class I railroads. To serve Vulcan Materials’ Medina Quarry, we anticipate unit trains of approximately 100 cars to run once or twice per day, the equivalent of taking nearly 1,000 18-wheeler trucks off the road per train trip.

How long will a train take to pass an intersection?

Unit trains will take approximately 3 to 4 minutes to cross intersections at CR4516 and FM2676.

How will SGRR limit noise?

Unlike Class II or Class I railroads, trains on the single-track Medina Line are expected to travel at an average speed of 20-25 mph. In addition, the track will use continuously welded rail (commonly called ribbon rail) and track lubrication to minimize noise.

What safety measures will be in place?
SGRR will operate in a safe and responsible manner, adhering to Federal Railroad Administration standards for operating a public railroad.

  • Unlike higher speed Class II or Class I railroads, trains on the single-track Medina Line are expected to travel at an average speed of 20-25 mph.
  • SGRR will consult with TxDOT, Medina County, FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers among others to ensure all road and flood plain crossings will be designed, constructed and maintained to comply with public safety requirements.
  • SGRR will maintain an approved Emergency Response Plan in case of weather or operational emergencies and will coordinate fully with County, State and Federal emergency agencies and first responders as necessary to ensure public safety in the event of an emergency.
  • Road grade crossings will be built according to TxDOT regulations, including electric warning signals, gates and signage at CR4516 and FM 2676.
  • SGRR will maintain a 24/7 emergency phone number.
What environmental measures will be in place?
SGRR is committed to operating in an environmentally responsible manner in strict accordance with Federal Railroad Administration standards:

  • A key requirement of authorization by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board was a rigorous and thorough environmental review which included public comment and public meetings.
  • The STB found the Modified Eastern Bypass Route (MEB) to be an environmentally preferred route and determined that the MEB will not significantly affect either the quality of the human environment or the conservation of energy resources.
  • Design, construction and operation of The Medina Line will include 91 mitigation measures from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which addresses factors such as biological and cultural resources, water, noise and air quality, and safety.