Union Pacific close to reopening two storm-damaged lines
Union Pacific Railroad said it expects to reopen the last two of five rail lines severely damaged by storms earlier this month.
The California “Coast Line” and a desert canyon line northeast of Las Vegas, are expected to be reopened for partial service from Jan. 24.
UP said the traffic embargo into California and Southern Nevada remains in place. “We have been working closely with our customers to assure that critical chemical, grain and coal shipments into the affected areas are being handled,” said Dick Davidson, Union Pacific chairman and chief executive officer.
However, it could take the UP months to rebuild some lines, Bear Stearns & Co. transportation analyst Ed Wolfe cautioned shippers during a teleconference on upcoming industry challenges hosted by Tranzact Technologies, a logistics software provider.
In California, 150 people with 40 pieces of heavy earthmoving equipment have been deployed to the area to work on the cleanup. UP said most of the initial cleanup on the tracks has been completed with slope and embankment work now underway. In Nevada, 200 personnel with 60 pieces of heavy equipment are working to repair storm damage to a more than 80-mile stretch in a remote canyon south of Caliente, Nev. A new bridge is being constricted to replace the Cottonwood Wash Bridge buried under up to six feet of mud and rock. The track will be raised 10 feet in this area.
“More than 200 Union Pacific employees have volunteered to temporarily shift to various locations in the West to help move trains detouring around the flooded segments. This really speaks to the ‘can-do’ attitude of our railroaders,” Davidson said.