Union Pacific has pulled out of a 2010 agreement with the Lone Star Rail District to study the feasibility of operating commuter trains on a freight rail corridor between San Antonio and Austin, Texas. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Jeff DeGraff, spokesman for Union Pacific, said the district’s proposals didn’t adequately address concerns about how the passenger rail would affect the company’s freight operations. The proposed commuter line would have served 19 stations in a corridor roughly parallel to Interstate 35. Part of the study included identifying a possible new route for freight trains, though some freight traffic would remain on the passenger line to serve existing customers.
“The idea of co-mingling freight and commuter rail on the same line is not a good idea, not something that’s feasible, and we didn’t feel the idea they came up with for realigning the tracks was something we could agree with,” DeGraff said. The decision is a major setback for the transportation district, which is currently in the midst of an environmental review and a search for a public-private funding partnership to advance the proposal. Railroad officials expressed a willingness to talk with transportation district representatives, but declared they have no intention to re-enter into a formal agreement at this time.
—Passenger Train Journal