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Tex-Mex donates cargo-inspection system structure to Department of Homeland Security


Last week, Kansas City Southern, The Texas Mexican Railway Co. (Tex-Mex) and TFM S.A. de C.V. held a grand-opening ceremony for a Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS) facility at the International Railroad Bridge in Laredo, Texas.

Installed by the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (formerly known as U.S. Customs), and housed in a two-story structure built by Tex-Mex, VACIS features a state-of-the-art gamma-ray imaging system designed to x-ray the interior of rail cars and intermodal equipment crossing the U.S. border from Mexico.

A locomotive approaching VACIS pulls just ahead of the gamma-ray receiver plate before the imager is turned on. The locomotive then starts to pull forward at about five mph and a real-time image of a car's or equipment's contents is projected onto monitors inside the VACIS facility.

"As traffic volumes increase through the busiest inland port at the U.S./Mexico border, cutting edge technology — such as VACIS — becomes a critical element toward the efficient movement and documentation of goods," said KCS officials in a prepared statement.

At the grand opening, Tex-Mex President and Chief Executive Officer Mario Mohar, and Department of Homeland Security Assistant Commissioner Jayson Ahern signed a declaration stating that Tex-Mex will donate the facility's structure to the department.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/19/2003