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Rail News: BNSF Railway

BNSF, Southwestern Railroad help Iron Horse set frac sand unit-train record


By Jeff Stagl, Managing Editor

Iron Horse Permian Basin LLC recently took delivery of the largest frac sand unit train in North American history by length and weight at 151 rail cars and 17,469 tons. The train arrived June 2 at the company's Delaware Basin rail terminal in Artesia, N.M.

Iron Horse Permian Basin LLC

The previous unit-train record of 150 cars and 16,500 tons of frac sand was set in October 2015 by Rangeland Energy, which operates a Delaware Basin rail terminal near Loving, N.M.

BNSF Railway Co. moved the new record-setting unit train from a Fairmount Santrol frac sand mine in Illinois to Clovis, N.M. Southwestern Railroad Inc. interchanged with BNSF there, then transported the train to Iron Horse’s yard in Artesia. The sand will be used by various pressure pumpers in the Delaware Basin portion of the Permian Basin, said Iron Horse Chief Executive Officer Kyle Ramage in an email.

"We are excited by this record. It shows the resiliency of the Permian Basin … [which] has once again proved itself as the last best place for the oil industry," he said. “We have continued to build out, and it has truly been a team effort on the part of our team, our customers and the railroads involved.”

Iron Horse provides frac sand transloading and storage, crude transloading and pipe storage services. The company's frac sand volumes have been down so far in 2016, but now are picking up, said Ramage. The company recently added 10,000 feet of track at the Artesia yard, boosting total trackage to about 40,000 feet.