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1/12/2012



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Preferred Sands provides unit train service to Pennsylvania; Musket proposes pipeline-by-rail facility in Colorado


Another sign of the shales-are-driving-business times: U.S. and Canadian silica sand and proppant producer Preferred Sands recently developed a 90-plus car unit train service that runs between the company’s Genoa, Neb., silica sand mine and a 14,000-ton storage facility in McKees Rocks, Pa. The service was designed in collaboration with McKees Rocks Industrial Enterprises Inc.
 
The nearly mile-long train is the first finished goods unit train to service the sand industry with a capacity to move about 10,000 tons of dry sand, Preferred Sands officials said in a prepared statement.

The company completed the first unit train trip on Nov. 1, delivering three different grades of finished, dry processed sand to the McKees Rocks facility via the Nebraska Central Railroad Co., Union Pacific Railroad, Norfolk Southern Railway, Pittsburgh & Ohio Central Railroad and McKees Rocks Railroad. Total transit time, including unloading and well delivery, was less than four days, a significant reduction from regular manifest train service’s average of eight to nine days, Preferred Sands officials said.
 
“Our unit train will benefit our Northeast customers by delivering sand in record time while also delivering cost efficiencies,” said Preferred Sands founder and Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Neill. “By streamlining the train to carry just sand freight, we are able to cut down on demurrage costs and expedite the shipping process.”
 
Preferred Sands plans to run a unit train monthly between Genoa and McKees Rocks. The company also plans to run monthly unit trains from its five sand plants to other storage facilities in Pennsylvania, Texas and points in Canada. Preferred Sands, which manages a fleet of more than 4,000 covered hopper cars, expects to complete 50,000 to 55,000 rail-car shipments in 2012.

Meanwhile, The Broe Group announced that Musket Corp. plans to establish a crude-oil export terminal in the Great Western Industrial Park in Windsor, Colo., along a soon-to-be-built loop track on the Great Western Railway of Colorado L.L.C., a short line operated by Broe’s OmniTRAX Inc.

Broe recently acquired 320 acres of former Eastman Kodak Co. property in the park, some of which will be used by Musket for the pipeline-by-rail facility. Fuel-storage tanks on the site with the capacity to hold 48,000 barrels will be converted for crude oil storage. The Great Western Railway plans to extend its track to complete a four-mile-long loop within the park.

“With increasing oil production in the Denver-Julesburg Basin and exploration of the Niobrara Formation, northern Colorado needs a rail-served solution to efficiently transport crude-oil unit trains," said Broe Vice President Rich Montgomery.

The Windsor facility will enable customers to take advantage of promising opportunities in the Niobrara Shale play, said Musket Managing Director J.P. Fjeld-Hansen.

“Musket was one of the first to make an investment in a pipeline-by-rail terminal in North Dakota's Bakken Shale play, which has become a success,” he said.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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