Construction Begins on Army Base Railroad Connection

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A global logistics hub envisioned for Oakland’s decommissioned army base took a big step forward when the Port of Oakland and Union Pacific Railroad start construction to link the site the railroad’s main line.

“Connecting the Oakland Army Base to the national rail network is a milestone for us,” said Chris Chan, the port’s engineering director. “To be successful, we must have good rail access.”

The $25 million project is financed by the Port of Oakland and the California Transportation Commission’s Trade Corridors Improvement Fund. It’s part of a $100 million port effort to significantly expand Oakland rail capacity.

A 7,400-foot lead track and the reconfiguration of adjacent tracks should be completed in October. Once finished, the port will be better positioned to receive bulk rail shipments at the former army base from Union Pacific and BNSF railroads.

The port and City of Oakland expect to transform Trans-Pacific supply chains at the 360-acre former army base logistics center. Located on the Port’s Outer Harbor, it would include warehousing, trans-load facilities and a dry-bulk cargo terminal.

Here’s how it could change the way exports are moved:

Bulk shipments of commodities such as Midwest grain and beef could be delivered to Oakland by rail, trans-loaded into containers at the Port, and then exported via Asia-bound container vessels;

Bulk shipments of other commodities could also travel to Oakland by rail. They would be loaded onto bulk vessels at a new dry-bulk shipping terminal and exported to Asia.

Union Pacific will manage construction of the army base rail link within its own property.

The railroad has hired Oakland-based McGuire & Hester for a significant portion of the work. The port has emphasized use of local contractors since construction began at the former army base in 2013.

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