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Crews break ground on siding designed to boost capacity, reduce delays of Amtrak Missouri River Runner trains


Yesterday, representatives of the state of Missouri, city of California, Mo., Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak yesterday kicked off the construction of a new $8.1 million, 9,000-foot siding designed to add capacity and reduce delays on the route used by Amtrak Missouri River Runner trains between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Located just west of California, Mo., the siding will unclog a major bottleneck caused by a 25-mile stretch of single track and enable slower freight trains to move off the mainline, enabling faster Amtrak trains to pass and annually reduce delays by nearly 17 percent, according to a statement issued jointly by UP, Amtrak and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

When finished in December, the siding will accommodate the mile-and-a-half-long UP coal trains that haul low-sulfur coal from Wyoming to electric utilities in the St. Louis area and eastern power generation facilities.

MoDOT secured the project funding from state funds, complemented with a federal grant from the Federal Railroad Administration.

The location was chosen after a University of Missouri study estimated a siding would annually reduce delays to Amtrak trains by nearly 17 percent. It was ranked as the first choice among three bottlenecks on the rail line between Kansas City and Jefferson City.

The study also helped UP’s engineering and network planning groups to determine where capacity projects should be considered across the 275-mile rail corridor. MoDOT commissioned the study in 2006.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/28/2009