Looks like the new Metro intermodal center won't have a commuter rail component at this time.
A Union Pacific Railroad official says the Metropolitan Transit Authority's plans to run commuter trains between the suburbs and a large intermodal terminal planned for the Near Northside probably won't work.
"We feel it is not feasible to operate commuter rail at this location," Joe Adams told the regional Transportation Policy Council last week. "We have made this clear in discussions with Metro."
Adams, who represents UP board chairman Jim Young in the Houston area, spoke after Metro executive vice president John Sedlak had completed a presentation about the project, which also would receive light-rail trains and buses.
East-west tracks, which pass through the proposed terminal site between Burnett and Naylor, and the north-south tracks, which run east of the site on Hardy and Elysian, each carry 25-30 trains a day, Adams said.
There also are a number of industries and warehouses in the vicinity and its approaches, he said.
UP spokesman Joe Arbona said higher fuel prices and congested roads have brought a boom to the freight rail industry, so the railroad may need unused space on its current right of way for future track.
Adams said UP has no problem with Metro running light rail on Main at the terminal, and said at least one proposed commuter route may be doable.
"We would be happy to work with Metro" on a future line in the Hempstead Highway/U.S. 290 corridor, Adams said. "It doesn't present the degree of challenges that operating around the Hardy Yards presents."
However, Adams said bringing such a line past the West Loop and into downtown would conflict with freight operations. As an alternative, he said, Metro could switch commuters onto its light rail system at the Northwest Transit Center, off the West Loop near U.S. 290, and take a less direct route to downtown.