BNSF Train

Barstow International
Gateway Project

Project Updates

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May 2023

BIG Project Community Outreach Following the announcement of the Barstow International Gateway (BIG) project last October, BNSF, in partnership with the City of Barstow and the Barstow Chamber of Commerce, has hosted 13 small community workshops, bringing together more than 100 stakeholders across a variety of interests, including healthcare, real estate, education, small business, youth…

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Strengthening local economies by creating thousands of jobs, enhancing and elevating the state’s supply chain ecosystem, and reducing traffic-related impacts on Southern California roadways.

Map of Barstow

Project Overview

BNSF Railway plans to invest more than $1.5 billion to construct a state-of-the-art master-planned rail facility in Southern California—and the first being developed by a Class 1 railroad. The Barstow International Gateway will be an approximately 4,500-acre new integrated rail facility on the west side of Barstow, consisting of a rail yard, intermodal facility and warehouses for transloading freight from international containers to domestic containers.

The facility will allow the direct transfer of containers from ships at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to trains for transport through the Alameda Corridor onto the BNSF mainline up to Barstow.

Once the containers reach the Barstow International Gateway, they will be processed at the facility using cargo-handling equipment powered by clean energy, and then staged and built into trains moving east via BNSF’s network across the nation. Westbound freight will similarly be processed at the facility to more efficiently bring trains to the ports and other California terminals.


BNSF worker inspecting cargo


  • Will bring thousands of direct and indirect jobs to High Desert communities
  • Will keep the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach competitive
  • Will support a robust, reliable, and efficient supply chain
loading crane at port

Supply Chain

  • Will allow for more efficient transfer of cargo directly between ships and rail and maximize rail and distribution efficiency regionally and across the U.S. supply chain
  • Will improve fluidity throughout BNSF’s rail network, moving containers off the ports more quickly and facilitating improved efficiency in operations at existing intermodal hubs, including in the Midwest and Texas


  • Will significantly reduce port and highway congestion
  • Will maximize rail and distribution efficiency regionally and across the U.S. supply chain and reduce truck traffic and freeway congestion in the Los Angeles Basin and the Inland Empire by allowing for more efficient transfer of cargo directly between ships and rail

Low Community Impacts

  • Will minimize potential community impacts in Barstow since the facility will be located near primarily undeveloped land that’s not adjacent to urbanized areas
  • Will move freight off the roads and onto rails, alleviating traffic congestion on Southern California roadways and freeways and reducing the costs taxpayers incur for road maintenance


Currently, most international cargo at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach arrives in 40-foot containers that are then trucked from the ports to warehouses in Los Angeles or the Inland Empire. Once the containers arrive at the warehouses, they are unloaded, sorted, and reloaded onto 53-foot domestic containers that are either transported by truck to a rail yard in Los Angeles, where they are transferred onto trains or simply trucked across the country. This process creates inefficiencies and unnecessary truck trips within the Los Angeles Basin and Inland Empire that can impact supply chain distribution, the environment, and communities surrounding ports and warehouses.

The Barstow International Gateway will allow cargo to be transported by rail directly from the ports through the Alameda Corridor to Barstow and processed efficiently between the intermodal rail facility and the on-site transload warehouse facilities, without generating additional on-road truck trips. The transload warehouses will expedite repackaging and processing of goods into domestic containers for further transport via rail across the country.