New $1.5 Billion Rail Facility Planned to Ease California Port Congestion

coracle News

BNSF Railway recently announced plans to build Barstow International Gateway (BIG), which could transform the Southern California intermodal picture. The $1.5 billion BIG project will be a 4,100-acre facility that includes a rail yard, intermodal terminal, and transload warehouses. It will be located 130 freeway miles away from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, in the city of Barstow, California.

Currently, BNSF uses three terminals in LA, which are all landlocked and at capacity. These smaller facilities are not very well suited for assembling 14,000-foot-long trains, which is a complex task of combining a variety of boxes from multiple carriers that are landing at different terminals.

With BIG, smaller 8,000-foot trains would be assembled at the port and dispatched to Barstow. The new, spacious, state-of-the-art BIG facilities would incorporate the latest robotics and handling techniques, and would more efficiently sort the boxes and dispatch well-blocked 14,000-foot trains to a variety of destinations.

Although the BIG project is still a long way from reality with construction beginning in 2025, the project has the potential to bring an innovative solution that would improve throughput and velocity, lower costs, and lower environmental impact.

Barstow intermodal project could transform Southern California intermodal picture, Journal of Commerce, Oct 11, 2022. Accessed Oct 17, 2022.