Kyle City Council votes to spend $270,000 on rail siding relocation study

Kyle City Council approved amending the city’s budget Tuesday night in order to spend $270,000 to fund a preliminary engineering study to relocate a switching station, also known as a rail siding.

The amendment will increase the amount of general fund money appropriated for expenditures by $270,000 to fund the study. City Council approved an agreement in November to pay that amount to  Union Pacific Corp., the rail siding operator, for preliminary engineering services.

A switching station is a line of railroad track that allows one train to pull off the main track while another train passes. But when trains pull into the switching station on Center Street and have to wait for other trains to pass, they can block the crossing for nearly an hour and create traffic jams, creating issues for police and emergency services. By moving the station, city officials say they can alleviate traffic congestion, especially along Center. Trains that block major roadways can also be dangerous when pedestrians try to walk between train cars.

“We are working with Union Pacific to identify the appropriate location for the siding,” City Manager Scott Sellers said. “Once we have that location in place, then we’ll look at funding avenues, which we hope is fairly soon so we can work with our local state representatives to identify funding. We are definitely moving forward on the project.”

The amendment was passed by City Council 6-1. Only Place 6 Council Member Daphne Tenorio voted against it.

“[The relocation] will bring [a higher] quality of life as well as safety,” Sellers said.