OMAHA, Neb. – With winter energy needs nearing their peak, Union Pacific is moving record trainloads of coal from Wyoming’s Southern Powder River Basin (SPRB) and coal-producing mines in Colorado and Utah.
During November, Union Pacific moved 20 million tons of coal from the SPRB and Colorado and Utah, an increase of nearly 8 percent over November 2005. The railroad posted its third best average daily performance in the SPRB, averaging 35.7 trains per day. The movement of Colorado and Utah coal posted its best daily train numbers of the year in November, averaging 11.6 trains per day.
Union Pacific also set train size records during the months of October and November. UP trains moving coal out of the SPRB averaged 15,135 tons each – an increase of 200 tons over last year’s annual average. A new wheel-changing process at Bailey Yard in North Platte, Neb., helped UP achieve the increased tonnage record.
Wheels are changed without removing cars from a train, saving handling and processing time. The enhancement has the potential to increase train tonnage out of the SPRB by more than 750,000 tons next year with no additional train starts.
“These records and process improvements are just two more examples of how committed Union Pacific employees are to meeting our customers’ needs,” said Jim Young, president and CEO. “Every day our employees are on the job to meet the nation’s demand for coal, food, construction equipment, and other items. And we will continue to look for new ways to handle rising demand.”
Additional rail line improvements are expected to boost the railroad’s coal capacity in 2007. The completion of a third main line south of Reno Junction, Wyo., and five new train landing tracks just completed at the mines will help boost capacity on the Joint Line owned by UP and BNSF to more than 375 million tons. During 2006 the Joint Line is expected to support more than 350 million tons of coal.
Future improvements, including construction of a third main line north of Reno Junction, and a fourth main line south of Nacco Junction, Wyo., are expected to boost Joint Line capacity to more than 400 million tons per year. Grading is already underway on both of these projects and completion is expected in late 2007.