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Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad

UP's coal train loadings lagged in March

Last month, Union Pacific Railroad loaded 842 coal trains in the Southern Power River Basin (SPRB) compared with 1,044 trains in March 2011. In the Colorado/Utah region, the Class I loaded 195 coal trains versus 230 in the year-ago period.

Sluggish domestic coal demand due to the mild winter and high utility stockpiles primarily impacted UP’s coal traffic, but severe weather played a minor role. In mid-March, a strong storm system produced heavy rain, hail and flooding across the Class I’s southern tier in portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas, temporarily washing out track on mainlines. In addition, a tornado struck UP’s Bailey Yard in North Platte, Neb., and caused minor damage.

Severe weather occurred at month’s end, as well. This past weekend, a large mudslide knocked a mainline north of Spokane, Wash., out of service, cutting off an interchange with Canadian Pacific in Eastport, Idaho. UP is detouring trains for interchange to and from the CP via St. Paul, Minn. and over BNSF Railway Co. routes in Sweet Grass, Mont., and Vancouver, Wash. Clean-up operations and track repairs will take about one week to complete, UP estimates.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/3/2012