SPRING, Texas – Union Pacific will improve Houston’s transportation infrastructure with a $29 million investment to improve the rail line that runs from Spring, Texas, to the Washington Avenue Corridor.
Work on the 23-mile stretch of railroad tracks will begin on the line that parallels the Hardy Toll Road February 18. Crews also will make track improvements to the rail line located along Washington Avenue, between downtown Houston and Hempstead Road.
The project includes removing and installing new rail, 29 track switches and more than 62,000 concrete ties. Crews also will spread 99,000 tons of rock ballast to ensure a stable roadbed and renew the roadway surfaces at 14 crossings.
Union Pacific will use a modern track renewal train, the TRT 909, which installs rail and concrete ties in one pass. The TRT can install up to 5,000 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 moves the removed ties into position for the gantry cranes to load them onto the cars for movement to a facility for sorting.
Union Pacific plans to spend approximately $2.5 billion in 2010 to support America’s current and future freight transportation needs and enhance the safety and efficiency of the railroad’s 32,000-mile network. Improved and additional rail capacity benefits everyone. It allows freight rail service to grow, helping to build a cleaner environment. 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.