New Braunfels City Council approves purchase, relocation of downtown Union Pacific rail yard

Union Pacific owns 3.62 acres of downtown property. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
Union Pacific owns 3.62 acres of downtown property. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)

Union Pacific owns 3.62 acres of downtown property. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)

At a recent meeting of New Braunfels City Council, council members moved unanimously one step closer to relocating the Union Pacific rail yard downtown to elsewhere outside the city.

The resolution approves an expenditure from the New Braunfels Economic Development Corp. for nearly $2.2 million to cover the engineering, design and acquisition costs for the Union Pacific rail yard and adjacent property owned by the company, about 3.62 acres of property downtown between Castell and Hill avenues. Union Pacific uses the property as an office, switchyard and for refueling.

“This is not the end but rather really merely the beginning of a process that has been negotiated with Union Pacific since early 2020,” said Jeff Jewell, director of economic and community development for the city. “The acquisition is not as easy as the city taking over because Union Pacific has to have somewhere else to relocate to ... in order for them to relocate they have to have some kind of equivalent facility. Luckily they do own property in southwest Comal County,” Jewell said.

The agreement is the first step in a roughly two-year process to end with closing on the property and agreeing to the construction costs of the new Union Pacific facility, estimated to cost an additional $4 million-$5 million, according to city documents.

Shane Hines, council member for District 1, said that discussion with citizen committees on the project began in 2017.


“Instead of selling to the highest bidder where a developer could come in and build whatever they wanted within the zoning system, the community came together and put some architectural details together, what we want as citizens, what we want to get,” Hines said. “Once it goes out to bid, whoever bids on it will have to stick to our standards of what we want to see on South Castell, and I think it's going to be a huge boon for downtown.”
By Eric Weilbacher

Editor, New Braunfels and San Marcos/Buda/Kyle

Eric joinedCommunity Impact Newspaper as an editor in July 2021, returning to journalism after several years in the New Braunfels business community. Prior to CI, Eric freelanced for multiple publications and was a reporter for the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. He brings a passion for accurate, compelling story telling and human interest to his work.