OMAHA, Neb. — Motorists will spend less time at crossings waiting for trains to pass as a result of more than $6 million in track improvements made by Union Pacific Railroad to its Kansas City to Jefferson City line. The track improvements will allow trains to operate more efficiently on the route.
When the project is complete, crews will have removed and installed more than 10 miles of rail in various curves between Kansas City and Jefferson City. Work will begin on these projects Feb. 1 and is scheduled to be completed by April 8.
The Kansas City to St. Louis rail corridor has experienced such a steady growth in freight rail traffic over the years, that the corridor has experienced capacity constraints. Union Pacific has invested more than $400 million since 1999 in track capacity and other projects on the corridor. This is a vital rail corridor for not only rail traffic in Missouri but also for goods moving across the country.
During 2009, Union Pacific currently plans to invest a total of $2.8 billion for capital projects that include $1.8 billion earmarked to strengthen the track infrastructure across its more than 32,000-mile system. This extensive investment in the railroad’s network helps ensure Union Pacific has the capability to offer high quality, safe, environmentally responsible and cost-effective service to meet its customers’ current and future transportation needs.
Improved and additional rail capacity benefits everyone. It allows freight rail service to grow, helping to build a cleaner environment – freight train emissions are one-third as much as trucks. Motorists also benefit from reduced congestion on America’s highways since a single intermodal train can remove up to 300 trucks off our roads.
There not only has been an improvement in on-time performance for the Amtrak trains across Missouri, but the combination of gas prices and train performance is having a positive impact. During the most recent quarter, Amtrak saw a 30 percent ridership growth in 2008 on the Kansas City to St. Louis corridor. On-time performance improvements and increased Amtrak ridership provided the additional benefit of having a positive impact on the environment.
Amtrak performance during the first 10 months of 2008 averaged nearly 64 percent on-time. During November, the on-time performance of Amtrak trains on the Kansas City to St. Louis corridor jumped to 76 percent and in December 2008 improved to 79 percent. These improvements are linked directly to the capital investment — capacity and maintenance — on the corridor.
Amtrak has posted a Passenger Service Notice about the track project on the Amtrak.com Web site regarding Missouri River Runner Trains 311 and 316. Missouri River Runner Trains 313 and 314 will not be affected and will operate according to the published schedule.