Union Pacific Railroad Rejects Proposal from Hearne Resident

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

Talk about getting some people riled up. After Union Pacific announced plans to build a 200-million dollar rail terminal in Robertson County, residents opposing that idea quickly began voicing their concerns.

“I think the people of Hearne are excited about it,” said Robertson County resident Nelda Calhoun.

Nelda Calhoun is optimistic after learning Union Pacific Railroad had plans to build a $200-million rail terminal in Robertson County.

“We’ve been looking to bring the rail terminal to Texas, and we picked Robertson County,” said Union Pacific Railroad spokesperson Raquel Espinoza. “The area between Hearne and Mumford connects beautifully with our markets in Houston, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.”

But the only problem is 20 people would have to sell their land; an idea that Calhoun doesn't agree with.

"The fact that we're in an area that we can't really spray for weeds because we're on this side of highway 6, it would be more practical to utilize this land then use the land that's already in use," said Calhoun.

Her family lives on 500 acres, and says they wouldn’t mind selling a few hundred acres if it meant saving the families and farmers from having to give up the generations of hard work to the rail company.

And with Calhoun -- if there's a will – there’s a way. She recently submitted a detailed proposal to UP requesting to move the terminal to her land.

“Unfortunately the land isn't long enough and it's located on the opposite side of Highway 6 so, we'd have to move the highway,” said Espinoza.

While it's not the outcome that Calhoun was hoping for, she says she'll continue exercising her voice -- in her own backyard.

“We have resources, people who know how to speak up and sometimes we have to try our best,” Calhoun said. “I think if the Brazos Bottom Alliance keeps their momentum, I think they can draw attention to the engineers at UP and they can carefully examine, and say well, you know it would be practical at this time.”

“It was too short and it was just about two miles long and we need about 5.5 to 6 miles in length,” said Espinoza. "It's also located on the opposite side of the highway, so we'd actually have to move the highway."

While it's not the outcome that Calhoun hoped for, she says she'll continue standing up and fighting for what she believes is the right thing to do.

“I think if the Brazos Bottom Alliance keeps their momentum, I think they can draw attention to the engineers at UP and they can carefully examine, and say well, you know it would be practical at this time.”

Espinoza said if and when the terminal comes to Robertson County, it's expected to bring in 200 local jobs. Local people would land some temporary jobs; hotel rooms would be booked; rental housing and RV parking spaces would be needed; local places to eat and other local businesses would see increased traffic; local contractors would be kept busy.

In addition to UP’s expansion, new railroad related businesses would open nearby and provide other new jobs and additionally provide Mumford ISD with a major economic boost.

Some Mumford retail development might also be expected.

UP’s planned project affects around twenty different properties and landowners. If the project goes forward, UP would purchase the land. The company is not interested in acquiring mineral or water rights.
Some property owners might be willing to sell.

This planned new UP classification yard would be built on the west side of the two sets of north/south railroad tracks that come through Mumford. It would stretch some five miles from just north of the new
baseball complex to Muse Road. Contrary to rumors, FM50 would not be re-routed or turned into a four lane interstate. In fact, since the new yard would be on the Brazos River side of the tracks, it would not be
visible from many areas of Farm to Market Road 50.

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