City of

Federal Legislative Agenda 2017


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Railway Operational Improvements

Situation Assessment

The City of Laredo has worked to establish relationships and dialogue with the Union Pacific Railroad and the Kansas City Southern Railroad both of which have operated in Laredo and have used the city as a crossing point between the U.S. and Mexico for over a century. In these discussions, several solutions have been proposed and federal guidance, cooperation and action is needed to support these measures to reduce train delays at the international rail bridge which cause the trains to block most at grade crossings in the City’s downtown for extended periods of time creating emergency vehicle and mobility issues.


Proposed Solution

Use of International Crews

Train delays often occur at the international rail bridge as Mexican and U.S. operators must switch before crossing the international boundary. International crews can solve the problem by hauling trains across the bridge. By doing so, regular crews on both sides of the border will be able to take drags back to their respective rail yards. These crews would only be allowed to travel within an established rail trade zone, which would include rail yards on both sides of the bridge and all rail lines between them.


Engineers from both countries would be licensed by their respective company to work within the rail trade zone. Furthermore, international crew members would be required to be bilingual to communicate by radio with yardmasters, dispatchers, etc. This would also allow for paperwork, such as track warrants and train lists, to be distributed in either language.


Air Brake Testing

Another source of congestion occurs as trains block crossings for long periods of time while air brakes are tested. In order to reduce the blockage of railroad crossings, it is proposed that the air brakes on rail cars be tested before they cross into the U. S. Tests will be conducted to meet the standards established by the Federal Railroad Administration.


The City of Laredo supports a binational effort to implement these operational changes.


Target Agency

Federal Railroad Administration

Homeland Security - Customs and Border Protection



Nathan Bratton

Planning and Zoning Director

1120 San Bernardo Avenue

P.O. Box 579

Laredo, Texas 78042

Phone: (956) 794-1613

Fax: (956) 794-1624