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10/2/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB to prepare EIS for BNSF-led partnership's proposed Houston line


Surface Transportation Board Oct. 1 issued a notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for an $80 million 13-mile rail line in Houston's Bayport Industrial District proposed by San Jacinto Rail Ltd. — a partnership comprising Burlington Northern Santa Fe, ATOFINA Petrochemicals Inc., Basell USA Inc., Equistar Chemicals LP and Lyondell Chemical Co.
Through its Web site, www.sanjacintorail.com, San Jacinto Rail plans to provide information to the public regarding STB's timetable for the EIS — which generally is a rail construction project requirement per STB's environmental regulations. The partnership also plans to continue meeting with public officials and community organizations to promote the project.
The proposed line would be operated by BNSF and would connect — via trackage rights San Jacinto has asked STB to grant — to several plastics and chemical shippers now served solely by Union Pacific Railroad.
The partnership plans to average two 36-car trains daily operating at speeds not to exceed 20 mph; after five years, train length could change to 66 cars.
San Jacinto Aug. 30 formally petitioned STB for approval to build and operate the line, which would include six grade crossings and a Red Bluff Road overpass.


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