In November, TxDOT released an infographic detailing the timeline for an international rail inspection station between Presidio and Ojinaga. The project is currently slated to be completed by the end of December 2024 and would provide a permanent home for Customs and Border Protection (CPB) operations overseeing rail transport between the two cities.
The new inspection station would allow cargo trains to pass between the two countries for the first time since 2008, when a fire forced the original rail bridge to shut down. Officials broke ground on the rehabilitation of the rail line across the river a decade later, in 2018 — one of the biggest engineering challenges was rebuilding the track at a higher elevation, since construction of the new-and-improved levees to protect Presidio from major flooding partially buried the remains of the bridge.
The inspection station is the missing piece needed to make the bridge fully operational once again. The re-opening of the rail crossing could be an economic fresh start for Presidio — even before the bridge burned down, crossing numbers were relatively sluggish. One hundred fifty-two trains headed into Ojinaga from Presidio in 1996; in 2006, there were eight. In contrast, the dual international rail bridges in El Paso have reported 1,013 crossings so far this year.