September 12, 2017 – TRA Newswire –
Construction is finally underway on The Medina Line, a nine-mile shortline railroad project in Southwest Texas.
The project was first approved by the Surface Transportation Board in 2008 but had to fight legal obstacles from landowners and the downturn from the recession. Southwest Gulf Railroad Company (SGRR), the owner of the line, will interchange with the Union Pacific Railroad near Dunlay, Texas near U.S. 90 and run to the Medina quarry at the northern end of the line. Vulcan Materials Company, a parent of SGRR, operates the quarry, a 1,760-acre site outside Quihi.
Erik Remmert, vice president of SGRR said “This is a testament to what’s possible when we work together. This project will serve as a catalyst for jobs and economic opportunity for decades to come right here in Medina County. We look forward to continuing our work with the community and being good neighbors.”
The general contractor is WT Byler Co, Inc., based in Houston. Byler has constructed hundreds of miles of railroads in Texas and Louisiana. The first trains are anticipated to run in 2019. The line is being constructed along the Modified Eastern Bypass Route. This has been determined by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, engineers and environmental experts to be the optimal route.
Construction activity on the Medina line started with surveying and marking the right of way and the next phases will be fencing, earthwork, sitework and rail installation. SGRR has forged partnerships with the community and stakeholders to serve customers on and along the route.
Loss of property value was a major concern among locals anywhere close to the rail spur although the line is planned to only have a small footprint through ranch land and scrub brush and not affect any structures. Landowners fought against the rail line, but the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) in 2008 granted SGRR permission to build and operate it as a “common carrier” rail line. In 2010, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision and rejected the group’s call for additional environmental studies, but the recession stalled the project.