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BNSF Railway Co. has selected Austin Western Railroad (AWRR) as its 2015 Short-Line Railroad of the Year, the Class I announced today.AWRR, which is operated by Watco Cos. LLC, was selected out of 200 other short lines because of its participation in "significant growth in traffic it interchanges with BNSF” since the two railroads began working together in 2007, BNSF officials said in a press release."Austin Western and BNSF expanded unit train operations to handle the growing aggregate traffic, which originates on the Austin Western line and continues to its destination in Texas on the BNSF network," said Dean Wise, vice president of network strategies.The award was announced during BNSF's annual short-line conference in Fort Worth, Texas.During the first seven months of this year, freight interchanged between BNSF and the short line rose 28 percent compared with the same period in 2015. AWRR’s compound annual growth rate was 35 percent between 2007 and 2014 for freight interchanged with BNSF."In recent years, we've seen a significant increase in aggregate unit trains due to increased highway construction in Texas and the Austin Western Railroad moved almost all of the aggregate needed to build the Formula One race track in Austin," said Ryan Williams, Watco’s vice president of marketing and sales. AWRR operates 111 miles of track from Marble Falls to Elgin, Texas. It interchanges freight with BNSF at McNeil, Texas.
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