Union Pacific Railroad will continue improving Nebraska’s transportation infrastructure with more than $6 million in investment to enhance the rail line that runs through Grand Island. The five-mile project includes removing and installing nearly 13,500 concrete ties, five-miles of rail and renewing the surfaces at seven road crossings. Four switches, the devices that guide a train from one track to another, were replaced in May.
Crews replaced the seven crossing surfaces in September and the new ties and rail will be replaced and is scheduled to be completed by Nov.
Union Pacific is using a modern track renewal train, the TRT 909, which installs rail and concrete ties in one pass. The TRT can install up to 6,000 ties in a twelve-hour day. The track renewal train consists of approximately 30 rail cars, with each car capable of carrying 210 concrete ties. Three sets of gantry cranes move the concrete ties forward for the TRT to drop into place and the machine then threads the new rail onto the ties. The old wooden ties are picked up and discarded rail is threaded out as the machine works its way down the track. A conveyor positions the removed ties for the gantry cranes to load them onto railcars for movement to a facility for sorting.
Union Pacific plans to invest approximately $3.3 billion in capital during 2011, which supports America’s current and future freight transportation needs and enhances the safety and efficiency of the railroad’s 32,000-mile network. These investment projects are examples of Union Pacific’s continuing efforts to improve transportation infrastructure and support its customers through strategic investments.
According to the Association of American Railroads, America’s largest railroads keep pace with the top nine states in terms of highway spending, and they do it with private, not taxpayer, money. In 2010, capital spending by Class I railroads totalled $9.8 billion, and the industry plans to make $12 billion in capital spending during 2011. All told, freight rail companies have invested $480 billion to maintain and modernize the national rail network since 1980.
Improved and additional rail capacity benefits everyone. It allows freight rail service to grow, helping to build a cleaner environment. Union Pacific can move one ton of freight nearly 500 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel, and, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, freight trains are nearly four times more fuel efficient than trucks. Motorists also benefit from reduced congestion on highways as a single Union Pacific train can remove up to 300 trucks off our roads.