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Union Pacific Railroad and The Dow Chemical Co. recently published a new report on the progress of a cooperative agreement that was reached in 2007 to improve rail safety and security.The pact outlines goals in eight critical areas of the chemical supply chain and innovations for event prevention and response planning, rail-car designs and tracking. The report provides a detailed update on the progress of each goal, including an extensive description of the Next Generation Rail Tank Car Project.The project is being advanced via a public-private partnership between UP, Dow, Union Tank Car Co., the Federal Railroad Administration, Transport Canada and the Transportation Security Administration. After the research and engineering phase was completed in 2009, Dow commissioned Union Tank Car to build the first next-generation chlorine tank cars. Last year, 11 of the cars — which offer up to three times better safety and security performance than existing tank cars — were completed and approved for service."Through this collaborative effort, a breakthrough approach to rail-car design was created that increases safety and security in moving vital chemicals to facilities that produce pharmaceuticals, clean water and many other products that improve every aspect of our lives," said Dow Chief Sustainability Officer David Kepler in a press release.UP also announced plans to increase train speed from 40 mph to 49 mph on 120 miles of its line between San Antonio and Odem, Texas. Last year, the Class spent $24 million to upgrade the line.Train speeds will be increased 5 mph starting today and another four mph on June 17, when the new maximum 49 mph speed limit takes effect.
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