New Rail Terminal Required Innovative Design
This project involved development planning for a new rail terminal intended to receive and send bulk fertilizer shipments. Located near downtown St. Joseph, Missouri, extensive coordination with the municipality, servicing railroads, and project owners was required. The site was previously occupied by several railroads, many of which disappeared through bankruptcy or merger, making coordination with property owners a challenge.
To create the most cost-effective freight rates, accommodating unit trains with more than 100 cars of a single commodity was critical. This included bulk fertilizer shipments into the site as well as grain shuttle service for outbound commodities.
The site is heavily constrained by existing streets, railroad properties, and adjacent buildings, requiring the innovative design of new infrastructure. The layout of new freight rail infrastructure was performed with long-term operation and efficiency in mind. Despite site limitations, a preliminary design was developed to meet Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway unit train service requirements.
After a lengthy analysis, BNSF determined the proposed facility design met its requirements and local crews could service the location. However, mainline capacity wasn’t available to service additional unit train demand in the near term. As a result, the project hasn’t been constructed.