ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Union Pacific Railroad is investing nearly $42 million to improve its existing rail lines in Arizona. Projects under way in the first quarter 2010 include track renewal work in the Phoenix and Mesa areas, railroad tie replacement in Union Pacific’s Phoenix and Tucson rail yards and railroad tie replacement on Union Pacific’s main line between Casa Grande and Yuma.
When work is complete, crews will have installed 156,000 wood and 58,000 concrete railroad ties and 24 miles of welded rail and spread 140,000 tons of rock ballast to ensure a stable roadbed. The projects began in January and are scheduled to be completed by the end of May. The concrete ties for this project are being produced by Arizona-based companies.
Crews will complete these track improvement projects using Union Pacific’s modern track renewal train, the TRT 909. The TRT 909 installs rail and concrete ties in one pass, and can install up to 5,000 ties in a twelve-hour day. Approximately 30 rail cars – each carrying 210 concrete ties – are part of the TRT.
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 the discarded rail 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. The TRT 909 can install concrete, composite and wooden ties.
At the Phoenix and Tucson rail yards, crews are stabilizing the track foundation by adding ballast and replacing 46,000 ties. The work will improve operating efficiencies and help Union Pacific continue to enhance the safety of its operations.