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Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad

UP celebrates silver anniversary of first PRB coal train

On Sunday, Union Pacific Railroad marked the 25th anniversary of the first train to move coal out of the southern Powder River Basin (SPRB). On Aug. 16, 1984, the former Chicago & North Western Railroad — which merged with UP in 1995 — moved a coal train from North Antelope, Wyo., to Newark, Ark.

Since the 107-mile SPRB line opened in 1984 between Joyce, Neb., and Shawnee Junction, Wyo., UP has reached several other milestones, including the operation of the 100,000th train in March 2001 and 200,000th loaded train in May 2009. The 200,000 trains carried enough coal to power all the homes in the United States for five years.

"SPRB coal volume has increased 11 percent annually between 1985 and 2008," said Doug Glass, UP’s vice president and general manager-energy, in a prepared statement. "Demand for coal is off this year due to the global recession, lower demand for metallurgical coal and reduced industrial output.”

Nonetheless, UP recently began delivering SPRB coal to a new power plant in Nebraska and will deliver coal to plants under construction in Texas and Arkansas, he said.

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More News from 8/18/2009