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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Severe western storms bring UP traffic to screeching halt


Earlier this week, strong storms pounded the West with torrential rains, mudslides and more than 14 feet of snow in higher elevations — severe weather that's partially frozen Union Pacific Railroad's operations in southern California and the Sierra Nevada region.

Because of washed out, and mud- and rock-covered tracks, and signal damage, UP closed five of its main routes in the areas. The Association of American Railroads has issued UP's embargo notices — effective Jan. 11 — which limit intermodal, automotive and manifest traffic moving to and from the Los Angeles Basin and between Santa Barbara, Calif., and Moapa, Nev., north of Las Vegas.

"Recovery will be slow and will depend on weather as crews work in very difficult conditions," said UP Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales Jack Koraleski in a letter to customers. "Snowfall has slowed mountain operations as we fight to remove record amounts of snow."

After routes re-open — possibly as early as today — it might take several days to reduce the train backlog before the railroad lifts the embargo, UP officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/13/2005