South Texas rail traffic is on the rise. Some of the traffic is directly related to growth in the Eagle Ford and some is related to economic growth across the board.
The Port of San Antonio's East Kelly Railport is set for an expansion this year. Watco is expanding to occupy 20 acres of the 350 acre railport and will nearly double the amount of track it has in place from 20,000 ft to more than 35,000 ft. The development is in response to growth from serving a little more than 2,600 railcars in 2010 to more than 4,500 in 2011.
San Antonio isn't alone either. The Gardendale railroad was almost abandoned a few short years ago, but now the interchange has five switching engines running.
Frack sand silos rise above the yard and black tank cars hauling Eagle Ford crude stand ready for transport. Adjacent to the interchange, you'll see several loads of pipe waiting to be put to work. There's no doubt who is driving growth in Gardendale. It's all oil & gas.
There's enough activity that Ironhorse Resources, operator of the Gardendale Railroad, has added around 80,000 ft of track and has expansion plans that will cover more than 350 acres. The facility is built to handle 15,000 railcars per year, but that number will stretch well above 20,000 as expansions are completed.
You can read in regards to Ironhorse's facility at gardendalerail.com