Serving the community since 1970

Evaluation: City's rail system a real asset

The Shafter City Council was given a presentation of the value and possibilities of rail system that the city owns near the Wonderful Industrial Park.

In the past, Shafter had made a considerable amount of money with oil companies using the system for transportation of their products and supplies. But, with the crash of the oil industry, the major customers of the rail system moved out of the area, including Baker Hughes, which was a big customer.

The rail system is a section of track that also contains about four miles of spur tracks. The value in the rail is that it connects the Wonderful Industrial Park and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway's main line. This service is valuable for companies who need to move product from the park to the BNSF.

The line was evaluated by the firm of R.L. Banks and Associates, which specializes in railroad assets. The presentation was led by the company's owner, Charles Banks.

Banks told the council that the Shafter Rail Terminal was in excellent condition and would need little to no rehabilitation to be kept operational. He also said that they didn't see any major projects that would be needed in the near future to have the city use the system for customers.

No specific value was set for the rail terminal and its earning potential, because City Manager Gabriel Gonzalez said that an item in secret closed session was a property negotiation.

The item in question on the meeting's agenda is real property negotiations between the city and Wonderful Real Estate Development regarding several parcels between Burbank Avenue and Seventh Standard Road.

The firm did say that the possibilities are plentiful with the rail system, and it will be a major attention-getter when it comes to attracting companies to the Shafter area, especially the Wonderful Industrial Park area.

In other council action, the council approved the purchase of four 2023 Ford Police Utility vehicles from Jim Burke Ford at a cost of a little over $75,000 per vehicle. This price includes outfitting emergency equipment and graphics to each vehicle.

The council also approved the purchase of a cybersecurity service for $48,000. This service is to assist the city's IT Department on safeguarding the city's operations from active and evolving cyber threats.


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