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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Iowa Pacific's Texas short lines set oil and gas carload record in March

Iowa Pacific Holdings L.L.C.'s Permian Basin railroads in Texas handled a record 2,033 carloads of crude oil and natural gas liquids in the first quarter compared with 170 carloads in first-quarter 2012.

Iowa Pacific operates the Texas-New Mexico Railroad (TNMR) and West Texas and Lubbock Railway (WTL) in the basin. Most of the company's new crude oil business is handled by TNMR, which recently partnered with Union Pacific Railroad to open a new interchange facility in Monahans, Texas, Iowa Pacific officials said in a press release.

Much of TNMR's crude business moves in unit trains using UP run-through power, an arrangement that also extends to WTL for frac sand and crude, with unit trains of frac sand flowing in from UP origins in Wisconsin, they said.

Although most of the traffic growth on both short lines is with the UP, some new business on WTL involves BNSF Railway Co., Iowa Pacific officials said. The company now has nine customers in the basin and another customer is building facilities in the region.

"Strong interest in the development of oil traffic in the Permian Basin continues," said Iowa Pacific President Ed Ellis. "Ultimately, we expect that at least five locations will ship unit train volumes and we are forecasting shipment of nearly 100,000 barrels per day within a year. In March, we moved about 21,000 barrels per day."


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