The Project Management Team and Terminal & Port Services Team reached a milestone this summer in Dallas, Texas: They completed a new construction project with a new Customer in record time, turning an underutilized asset owned by Kansas City Southern Railway into a profitable center.   

When the KCS opened a new, state-of-the-art intermodal facility, the decision to turn the previous Zacha intermodal terminal into a transload terminal seemed like the logical choice. In the initial transition, the Zacha terminal struggled to reinvent itself until last October after the KCS awarded Watco as its operator of the facility – the 55th terminal on Watco’s roster. 

Previously, the facility offered 9,523 feet of track space within the terminal and 80 acres of outside storage for Customers. The new construction project, started May 22, added 1,300 feet of new track and was completed in just 79 days.  

“The amazing part is not the length of track but the time frame in which the Team got the track laid down, giving the Customer time to meet goals for this year for unloading and selling asphalt in the Dallas market,” said Derek Penner, senior vice president of Strategy and Customer Development.  

The Team also built a system that allows 10 railcars of asphalt at a time to be heated to 350 degrees — a process that is both time consuming and tedious, Penner said. It features a 30,000-gallon tank where product can be stored. The operation is designed to unload 60,000 bbls of asphalt each month.

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Just a few days after completing construction, the Terminal & Port Services Team loaded its first asphalt truck. Days later, the Team had upped the number to three. Now, they’re working toward reaching the system’s full capabilities of loading 30 in a day.  

“We’re excited to be progressing in the right direction with our customers, the KCS, and building our team at the terminal,” said Terminal Manager Jake Gandy.  

Today, 11 Customers utilize the terminal that once had just one Customer on site.  

“We’re proud that we were able to plan and built for a large-scale Customer within that operation in a pretty short time, and that we redeveloped an underused asset for KCS,” Penner said.  “This was one of those projects that works really well for everyone involved.”