Railroads & Locomotives Railroad Profiles Short Lines Gulf Coast Switching profile

Gulf Coast Switching profile

By | January 27, 2023

Gulf Coast Switching is a short line railroad providing contract switching operations in a couple of yards around Houston, Texas.

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Gulf Coast Switching logoGulf Coast Switching summary

Gulf Coast Switching (GCS) is a Class III short line railroad that operates in the Houston, Texas area. It’s owned by Anacostia Rail Holdings, a privately held firm that manages multiple short lines throughout the United States. The railroad specializes in contract switching for the Union Pacific Railroad’s Robinson and Angleton storage-in-transit yards.


Gulf Coast Switching was formed in 2008 by Anacostia Rail Holdings Corporations when the Union Pacific transferred switching rights of the Robinson Yard in Dayton on the northeast side of Houston. The yard itself was originally built by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1996, right before the merger into the UP. The switching business for both the GCS and Anacostia expanded to the Angleton Yard, recently opened in 2018 by the Union Pacific south of Houston.


Since 2008, Gulf Coast Switching has operated the storage side of Robinson Yard that can hold up to 1,500 hoppers. Plastic is the principal commodity that utilizes the storage-in-transit facility until they’re ready to be shipped to their next destination. Track maintenance is also provided by the GCS at the yard, consisting of 36 miles of continuous welded rail and 86 switches. The Angleton Yard can handle up to 1,100 railcars for switching, while the short line maintains its 24-mile welded rails and 42 switches.

GCS rosters four diesel locomotives at both the Robinson and Angleton yards. Two EMD SD40s are equipped with remote-control technology from Cattron for a safe, efficient switching operation. Half the fleet pays tribute to the former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway by carrying the “Zebra” stripes color scheme.

With both yards owned by Union Pacific, the GCS handles in and outbound freight from the Class I railroad. The Robinson Yard in Dayton sits on the main line heading east to New Orleans, while the Angleton Yard serves the route heading towards Corpus Christi, Brownsville and Mexico.

Read more about the Gulf Coast Switching in Trains’ June 2017 issue.

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