October 3, 2021 - TRA Newswire -

Peter Espy, who serves as the third-ever Rail Division Director at the Texas Department of Transportation, will be stepping down from his position on October 15th.

Espy has reached retirement age and hopes to "travel, read some books and slow down his pace" and return to California.

After earning a bachelor's degree in economics at Bucknell University Espy started his railroad career in 1974 at Amtrak, holding various management positions. He worked for LTK Engineering serving as manager for multiple railroad and urban transport operations/engineering projects, including the Amtrak Acela high-speed trainset program. In 1997, he served as general manager and chief executive officer for a privatized 1,000-mile freight railroad in northern Chile. In 2004, he served as general manager of PeruRail, a 600-mile freight and passenger railroad in southern Peru. While at PeruRail, he was responsible for all operations and service areas of the railroad, including government and community relations.

In 2008, he joined TranSystems Corporation as vice president responsible for overseeing transit and passenger rail business developments along the West Coast. Before joining TxDOT as the Director of the Rail Division he worked on business developments and projects for WorleyParsons in the transit and rail sector. Work with WorleyParsons included participation in an intermodal maritime-railroad study for the port operator in San Antonio, Chile. Espy also served as principal consultant for SNC-Lavalin (formerly Interfleet North America), participating in a USTDA-financed study of the locomotive fleet in Mexico.

Applications for the position of Rail Division - Administration (Job ID: 121370) will be accepted by TxDOT through their career website.

Whoever is hired by TxDOT to replace Espy will report to the head of a new position, part of ongoing changes at the transportation agency. The position of Director of Planning and Modal Operations (Job ID: 121666) was posted recently and will be open until filled.

The TxDOT Rail Division was established in 2009. Previous rail matters were handled by a small Multi-Modal section at the transportation agency with limited railroad duties.

Texas Rail Advocates petitioned the Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) at their 2008 hearings and in meetings with TXDOT officials to establish a rail division in a growing state that was moving more people and goods. Phil Russell, then Deputy Director of TxDOT, presented a plan to the transportation commission, which was subsequently approved and the Rail Division was created. TxDOT established a Steering Committee to aid the fledgling rail agency. Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody served on the Steering Committee along with members from railroads, transit agencies, MPO's and others.

Some of the projects that the Rail Division is involved in include improving the state owned South Orient Railroad which is currently seeking funds to complete an international rail gateway with Mexico at Presidio, Texas. The agency has been working on freight mobility studies in various parts of the state and the division is compiling a list of grade-crossing upgrades should funds become available. Little to no projects concerning passenger rail are underway due to a lack of funding from the state legislature. A lack of a state match for federal cost-sharing rail projects has hindered advancement of both passenger and freight rail development.