Train Speeds to Increase Along South Orient Railroad.
Improvements along 82 miles of track from San Angelo Junction (in Coleman County, five miles southwest of Coleman) through San Angelo are now complete and train speeds will be increased, according to TxDOT’s operator of the line, Texas –Pacifico (TXPF), starting September 24, 2012.
Trains will now be allowed to travel 25 m.p.h. instead of the previous 10 m.p.h. The increase will affect 15 crossings in Coleman County, 37 in Runnels County, and 77 in Tom Green County. TXPF will still limit trains to 15 m.p.h in San Angelo, starting at the crossing closest to the landfill on the north side of town and continuing through town past the Knickerbocker Road crossing. The 22 crossings within the San Angelo city limits will not see the speed increase.
The economic impact of the rail line on the region has been remarkable. Through July, TXPF had moved 4,269 carloads. The employee base has increased from 10 people to 37, and their are several more positions to fill. New businesses have located along the line -EOG Resources near Barnhart; Texas Speciality Sand at Barnhart; Halliburton at McCamey; South Texas Proppants at Big Lake and West Texas Transload at San Angelo.
TXPF and the new customer facilities on the line have created 65 new, rail-related, full time, good paying jobs in the region since August 2011. These new employment opportunities are a direct result of the rehabilitation of the line. Job creation is expected to continue through 2012 and 2013, with the possibility of doubling the jobs created annually.
The 391-mile South Orient Rail Line (SORL) is owned by TxDOT and operated by Texas-Pacifico through a lease agreement. It runs from San Angelo Junction to Presidio, Texas.
Rehabilitation of the line was made possible in 2009 when the Texas Transportation Commission approved $14 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for improvements to the rail and the ties. More than $25 million dollars has been spent rehabilitating the line since 2008.
(Information provided by TXDOT).