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Union Pacific Withdraws From Lone Star Rail Project

Lone Star Rail District

Plans to develop passenger rail service between San Antonio and Austin and then up to Georgetown has come to a grinding halt.  The Lone Star Rail District’s line, called LSTAR, would use Union Pacific tracks that run parallel to I-35.

While Union Pacific had a memorandum of understanding, they determined it wouldn’t be feasible for them.

“Anytime you attempt to run passenger trains on the same lines as freight traffic it causes a lot of problems,” said UP spokesman Jeff DeGraff. “There are scheduling issues, there are capacity issues, and it is not something that is very easily done. And given the infrastructure that’s in place and the proposed infrastructure, we just didn’t feel they were coming up with solutions that really co-mingled the two.”

Austin attorney Bill Bingham represents the Lone Star Rail District. “We’ve planned pretty extensively how to take care of their capacity needs and free up some of their existing rail right-of-way to operate passenger service and construct for them some new freight lines that they can move their through-freight trains to,” said Bingham.

Lone Star Rail District officials plan to meet with UP officials in the next few weeks to try and work out their differences.

Steve joined the Texas Public Radio news team in 2009, and serves as TPR's Assistant News Director and afternoon anchor. You can hear him Monday-Friday from 3-7pm on KSTX 89.1 FM. Steve is a veteran of radio news in South Texas, having worked for commercial stations in the San Antonio area since the late 1980s.