Bexar County looking at adding commuter rail from The Rim to near downtown

Union Pacific rail would run from NW Side to West Martin Street

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SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff is thinking trains could be the solution to traffic woes as he investigates the possibility of a commuter rail line along the Interstate corridor.

Wolff said he has met with local Union Pacific officials about using a portion of track between The Rim shopping center and the downtown area for a commuter rail line. He thinks it could serve as an alternative to the congested I-10 traffic.

"You can't build enough highways and freeways to take care of all the traffic," Wolff said. "Every time we build a lane or two it's filled back up."

A county spokeswoman said a commuter line would go somewhere between The Rim and a split in the track at West Martin Street near Haven for Hope.

The Northwest Side of San Antonio has grown tremendously over the last two decades, with The Rim, Fiesta Texas and The Shops at La Cantera all bordering the I-10/Loop 1604 interchange.

Wolff said the Union Pacific representatives "say they're down to one load every two weeks or so on that line."

Nothing is set yet.

Wolff said he's waiting for the city elections to be finished before possibly scheduling a trip to Union Pacific headquarters in Omaha, "and get some kind of idea of if they're interested when they would be willing to take a serious look at it."

If Union Pacific OKs the plan, a county spokeswoman said they'd need to get local stakeholders like the city and other interested municipalities on board.

Wolff has dreams of an even longer commuter line if The Rim to downtown portion is successful.

"The state has right of way all the way up to Boerne," Wolff said. "So there's a possibility if you could get Union Pacific to work with you to maybe get commuter rail all the way up to Boerne.

As it stands, though, a Union Pacific spokesman said the railroad has no plans right now to sell or relinquish control of the line. The railroad also doesn't allow services that would create mingling between freight and passenger services.

However, he said Union Pacific remains open to dialogue with the county.

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