Dozens of orange-and-yellow locomotives have been parked north of Harborside Drive near 37th Street, with no apparent destination, for weeks — leading some to wonder what’s going on.
According to the BNSF Railway Co., there’s nothing to worry about and the train engines will be gone eventually.
“Some of these are going to be sold, while others will be stored there while we are evaluating what will be done with them,” BNSF Railway Company spokeswoman Jeanelle Davis said.
In a text message, Galveston Port Director Rodger Rees said his understanding was that the engines were on rail company property waiting to be sold for scrap.
“BNSF said we should see them starting to leave soon,” Rees said.
BNSF owns large tracts of land near the Port of Galveston, including the area where the locomotives are being stored for the time being, according to Galveston County Central Appraisal District Records.
Port officials have talked about using some of the rail company’s land as storage space for cargo as the port prepares to build a new cruise terminal at Pier 10.
Last week, the port confirmed that one company, Atlantic Container Lines, will move its cargo operations to Freeport because of storage space concerns at the port. The port in January notified Atlantic Container Lines that it no longer would be able to use space at Pier 39 because another tenant was being moved to the west end of the port.
The port has not purchased any land from the railway, but Rees confirmed the port was seeking more information about who owned the land.
“We are trying to get documentation of ownership,” Rees said. “Records are incomplete.”
He did not respond to two follow-up phone calls seeking further information on Tuesday. On Tuesday evening, Rees asked for The Daily News to send him written questions about BNSF and the port’s interest in the land.
Late Wednesday afternoon, a port spokeswoman responded to The Daily News with a short email saying the port had made no offer to buy the land but did have “verbal correspondence” with BNSF about incomplete records.
If the port had the land, it would be used for cargo, the spokeswoman said.