UP plans Iowa trackwork; celebrates best-ever derailment safety performance

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

Union Pacific will strengthen Iowa's transportation infrastructure by investing $6 million in the rail line between Burt and Goldfield, Iowa. The project, funded entirely by Union Pacific, began July 25 and is scheduled to be completed by mid-October.


The railroad will replace 33,000 crossties, install 13,300 tons of ballast and renew the surfaces at 66 crossings. The project is one of nearly 1,500 Union Pacific will complete across its 32,000-mile network this year to help improve train operating efficiency, reduce motorist wait times at crossings and enhance safety.

UP also achieved a record low 2.95 reportable rail equipment incident rate for the first half of the year (through June 30, 2014). This is a four percent improvement versus the same period in 2013, when the company reported a 3.07 reportable rail equipment incident rate and surpasses the previous first half-year record of 3.01, set in 2010.

“Safety is ingrained in our culture at Union Pacific,” said Bob Grimaila, Union Pacific vice president – safety, security and environment. “Our reduced derailment rate is driven by our dedicated employees, who work hard to identify the causes of incidents and put effective solutions in place. This moves us one step closer to our goal of zero incidents.”

During the past 10 years, UP invested approximately $30 billion to strengthen its infrastructure and decreased derailments 23 percent. The prevention and risk reduction process includes using lasers and ultrasound technology to identify rail defects; forecasting potential failures before they happen by tracking the acoustic vibration on wheels and heat trends on wheel bearings; performing a real-time analysis of every rail car each time it passes a trackside sensor, equaling 20 million car evaluations per day and regular employee participation in rigorous safety training, including training to identify and prevent potential derailments.


Categories: Ballast, Ties, Rail, Class 1, ON Track Maintenance, Safety/Training, Track Machinery