What is the project?

BNSF Railway plans to invest more than $1.5 billion to construct a new, state-of-the-art, master-planned integrated rail facility in Southern California—the first being developed by a Class 1 railroad. Approximately 130 miles from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, the the Barstow International Gateway will be located on more than 4,500 acres just west of Barstow, where BNSF has operated an existing rail yard for more than 140 years.

The new site will facilitate 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 facilities.

Key Information about Project Components

  • Rail Facility: Smaller blocks of containers currently tend to dwell at the ports. The facility will reduce this dwell time and accompanying congestion on-dock by allowing these smaller blocks of containers to be moved via train to Barstow sooner and reassembled into trains headed across the U.S. This will improve train efficiency eastbound and westbound.
  • Intermodal Facility: The intermodal facility’s function will be to transfer shipping containers between rail and the transload warehouses, using electric yard trucks.
  • Transload Warehouses: The project will include warehouse facilities dedicated to repackaging and processing goods arriving at the Intermodal Facility from international containers into domestic containers. The domestic containers would then be transferred back to the intermodal facility using electric yard trucks, for further transport via rail across the country.   
  • The project does not require any physical modifications to facilities at the Port of Los Angeles or the Port of Long Beach.

What will the Barstow International Gateway do?

By allowing for more efficient transfer of cargo directly between ships and rail, the Barstow International Gateway 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.

This will play a critical role in improving fluidity throughout our rail network, moving containers off the ports more quickly and facilitating improved efficiency in operations at our existing intermodal hubs, including in the Midwest and Texas.

Why is this project so important? What are the benefits of the project?

This first-of-its-kind integrated facility will create 20,000 direct and indirect jobs, improve supply chain efficiencies, and reduce port and freeway congestion around the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

BNSF will use fast, efficient rail service to move goods onto trains directly from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach through the Alameda Corridor to integrated rail and transload facilities located in the High Desert.

Supply Chain Benefits

  • Will create a new integrated rail and transload complex within 130 miles of the ports and developed/operated by a Class 1 railroad
  • Will improve goods movement efficiency and support the supply chain across the state and nation
  • Will reduce port and highway congestion and expedite the transportation of goods from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach via rail, the most environmentally efficient way to move freight
  • Will allow containers to be processed and then transported by rail to destinations throughout the United States
  • Will provide additional capability for goods movement outside the Inland Empire

Economic Benefits

  • Will reduce for California taxpayers the costs associated with road maintenance and will improve safety on Southern California highways due to a reduction of truck miles traveled, which supports state goals to de-prioritize highway expansion
  • Will strengthen the local and state economy and reduce inflationary pressures from delays in moving goods
  • Will bring thousands of much-needed direct and indirect jobs to High Desert communities
  • Will increase equity, opportunity, and economic competitiveness in the High Desert

Traffic/Environmental Benefits

  • Will reduce inefficient truck trips, alleviating congestion on roads and highways
  • Will enable integrated, sustainable transportation
  • Will minimize potential community impacts so that the rail yard and warehouses can achieve maximum spatial and operational efficiency together, since the facility will be strategically located near primarily undeveloped land that is not adjacent to urbanized areas

Have you been working with the City of Barstow?

Yes, we have discussed the proposed project with the City of Barstow. They have expressed support for the concept we have discussed, because they recognize the ability of this project to bring jobs and opportunity to the city as it looks to the future. They are currently updating their General Plan, and we anticipate working with them on how our project can fit with their overall plans for the community.

Is there support for the project?

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and the City of Barstow have all recognized the Barstow International Gateway’s role in creating jobs, improving supply chain efficiency, and reducing environmental impacts from goods movement:

Trelynd Bradley, Deputy Director of Sustainable Freight and Supply Chain Development, GO-Biz
“The significance of BNSF’s investment to improve the supply chain here in California cannot be overstated. Rail plays a critical role in moving goods safely and efficiently, while reducing emissions due to congestion in many of our high-traffic corridors. Projects like BNSF’s will work to strengthen our inland local economies, such as that of Barstow in San Bernardino County. We look forward to continuing to work with projects like these, as well as others, to drive transformative investments that will enhance and elevate California’s supply chain ecosystem for a more efficient and resilient tomorrow.”

Gene Seroka, Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles
“BNSF’s planned Barstow International Gateway will improve cargo velocity through our port and reduce truck traffic on our freeways. This project will help ensure that goods moving through the San Pedro Bay will get to consumers, businesses, and manufacturers with speed and reliability.”

Mario Cordero, Executive Director, Port of Long Beach
“The Port of Long Beach welcomes BNSF’s planned Barstow International Gateway in the High Desert. This project will help improve supply chain fluidity, reduce environmental impacts, and enhance the competitiveness of California and the nation’s largest port complex.”

Dawn Rowe, 3rd District Supervisor, San Bernardino County
“The County of San Bernardino plays a critical role in supporting the movement of goods to the rest of the country. Barstow International Gateway will be essential for modeling new and efficient ways to address supply chain issues that have impacted everyone over the past several years.”

Willie A. Hopkins, Jr., City Manager, Barstow
“This facility will bring thousands of jobs to Barstow, while increasing equity, opportunity, and the economic competitiveness of the High Desert. BNSF has been an important part of our city since its inception, and on this 75th anniversary, we are proud to partner with them to ensure our success in the future.”

Does this project rely on public funding?

No. BNSF is developing this facility as a private investment.

Do you already have customers committed to the project?

We are always in discussion with current and future customers about how to serve them and look forward to further collaboration as the project moves forward.

What are the environmental impacts of the proposed Barstow International Gateway?

The City of Barstow will be preparing an environmental analysis of the project and its environmental impacts as required by the California Environmental Quality Act.  When the formal CEQA process begins, BNSF anticipates that the project will reduce traffic congestion and road maintenance costs by shifting more cargo onto rail at the ports, thus reducing inefficient truck trips within the Los Angeles Basin.

How will the project affect property owners near the site?

BNSF is working directly and collaboratively with affected property owners.