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Rail News: BNSF Railway

Unit train delivering U.S. Silica frac sand breaks record


U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. announced earlier this week the delivery of a record-breaking 150-car unit train carrying more than 16,500 tons of U.S. Silica White frac sand from its plant in Ottawa, Ill., to a transload facility serving the Permian Basin.

Delivered by BNSF Railway Co., the unit train of sand was the longest ever delivered to a single destination on a Class I railroad, U.S. Silica officials said in a press release.

"Delivery of sand by unit train is the most cost-effective means of transport, which is extremely important in today's highly competitive marketplace," said Don Weinheimer, U.S. Silica's vice president and general manager of oil and gas.

U.S. Silica has plants served by all Class I railroads.

Although the U.S. land rig count is down due to lower oil prices, large volumes of sand continue to be required as current completion designs for wells demand increased volumes of sand per stage and more stages per well, according to U.S. Silica.

Company officials cited a recent report by PacWest Consulting Partners that estimated sand usage per well rose 26 percent between third-quarter 2014 and second-quarter 2015.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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