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BNSF, UP to compete for Houston shippers' business, STB says

Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific Railroad recently agreed to provide Bayport Industrial District shippers access to both railroads in southeastern Houston, according to the Surface Transportation Board.

In May 2003, the STB approved San Jacinto Rail Ltd.'s (SJRL) plan to build a 12.8-mile line in the district. However, ongoing litigation in Texas courts have delayed construction.

Owned by BNSF and four chemical shippers, SJRL plans to build the line between the district and a former Galveston, Henderson and Houston Railroad line owned by UP. BNSF would operate the line to provide a rail alternative to petrochemical shippers solely served by UP.

"I am very pleased that Union Pacific and BNSF have reached a deal to provide shippers in the Bayport area with access to two railroads," said STB Chairman Roger Nober in a prepared statement. "Where shippers want rail competition, rail construction proposals continue to provide the opportunity both to construct and to negotiate based on the right to construct."

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More News from 12/22/2004