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8/31/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BNSF, limited partnership seek STB approval on competing Houston rail line


San Jacinto Rail Ltd. and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Aug. 30 filed a petition with Surface Transportation Board seeking approval to build and operate an $80 million, 13-mile rail line into Houston's Bayport Industrial District.

The limited partnership — comprising BNSF and its affiliates, ATOFINA Petrochemicals Inc., Basell USA Inc., Equistar Chemical LP and Lyondell Chemical Co. — plans to offer competitive rail service to Bayport shippers now served solely by Union Pacific Railroad.

Community and organization representatives within the project area requested that San Jacinto prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the line. San Jacinto and BNSF plan to ask STB's Section of Environmental Analysis to conduct the EIS. The board also would seek public comments on the project.

If STB — and other federal, state and local agencies — approve the project, San Jacinto plans to start building the line in first-quarter 2003, with BNSF beginning operations in second-quarter 2004.


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