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The Merced County Board yesterday approved an agreement with Patriot Rail to establish a rail district at Castle Commerce Center in California, making the site a focal point for the movement of freight by rail and future economic development.
Located near the southeastern corner of Castle, the rail district will enhance the ability of agricultural producers, manufacturers and other enterprises from throughout the San Joaquin Valley to ship and receive products via BNSF Railway Co.'s mainline, which runs adjacent to the site, Patriot Rail officials said in a press release.
A rail spur from the BNSF line currently connects to Castle, and Patriot Rail will soon develop additional infrastructure to facilitate enhanced freight-rail service from the location, they said.
Under the agreement, Patriot Rail will lease 6,500 feet of track and related property for 20 years, with potential renewals subject to mutual agreement between Merced County and the rail company.
Patriot Rail will maintain the track and anticipates making an initial investment of $1.2 million to increase rail capacity and fluidity of shippers in the Castle rail district.
The new district will allow businesses from Merced County and the surrounding region to further expand their operations by quickly and efficiently receiving and shipping more freight by rail, officials said.
"We are committed to providing service and safety excellence as a premier rail solutions provider, and to partnering with Merced County customers to ensure exciting new competitive options for shipment by rail to build business and grow jobs," said Patriot Rail CEO John Fenton.
The agreement with Patriot Rail was executed through Patriot Rail subsidiary Foster Townsend Rail Logistics LLC.