Port of Benton’s Southern Connection is a 16-mile short line rail network that runs between Center Parkway in Kennewick and Horn Rapids Road in north Richland. The line serves shippers from around the region to efficiently get their products to market.

We lease the Southern Connection rail network to a short line operator to manage, maintain and operate. Onsite rail service is provided by the short line operator and two Class I railroads.*

*As of July 18, 2022 the Port of Benton has terminated its lease with the previous short line operator. Please refer to the press release on our website for more information.


Leveraging a Federal Asset

In 1998, the U.S. Department of Energy transferred ownership of the 16-mile Southern Connection rail line, the surrounding land and buildings to Port of Benton. This transfer in ownership was done to avoid closure of the railroad and to foster economic development efforts.

For more than 20 years, we have worked to honor the spirit of this transfer by spurring economic and industrial development in Benton County.

CRISI - FY 2022


Port of Benton for emergencies or to report a problem. Dial 911 if an immediate threat to life safety.

Rates & Capabilities

Please contact Union Pacific or BNSF Railway for current Class I rates and capabilities. This information will be updated when a new short line, operator, and/or inspection and maintenance company is selected

Rail Project

Plan Document

Bid Opportunities

To be considered for bid opportunities please follow the link below and register with the Port’s Small Works and Professional Rosters. Rail opportunities will be shared with registered bidders.

Closed, but still awesome.

  • First day of January (New Year’s Day)
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  • Fourth day of July (Independence Day)
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  • Eleventh day of November (Veteran’s Day)
  • Fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving Day)
  • The day immediately following Thanksgiving Day
  • Twenty-fifth day of December (Christmas Day)