In a decision served on January 17, 2020, the Surface Transportation Board (“STB”) granted the Texas Railway Exchange LLC’s (“TREX”) construction and crossing petitions for TREX’s new rail line in Galveston, Texas. This line will provide a direct connection between the BNSF Railway Company’s (“BNSF”) local yard and the Texas International Terminals Ltd. (“TXIT”), a corporate affiliate of TREX. The line will cross the Union Pacific Railroad Company (“UP”) tracks and property, and provide BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) new direct competitive access to TXIT as an alternative to its pre-existing reciprocal switching service.
TXIT is a multi-modal transloading facility located on the Galveston Ship Channel. It can accommodate deep draft vessels, barge, trucking, and both manifest and unit train traffic. Historically, TREX has been served directly only by the UP, and this presented a service challenge for TXIT’s rail customers. TREX’s new rail line build out eliminates this problem by providing a direct connection to BNSF and, as the STB found, will “allow more effective competition for business at [TXIT], thereby advancing the development and continuation of a sound rail transportation system with effective competition among rail carriers.” TREX’s successful competitive build-out petition was the first of its kind in over a decade.