Union Pacific

Official website: www.uprr.com
press releases, Yahoo News, stock ticker

Union Pacific has suffered another vote of no-confidence. Texas industries, authorities and railways have asked the Surface Transportation Board to give them control over some UP assets. Burlington Northern Santa Fé has sent in a similar request of its own. (July 9th 1998)

Union Pacific claims that it's railways are no longer jammed. Not many people seem to agree; the UP has been clogged for over a half year now. (May 8th 1998)

The problems at UPRR are getting even worse; UP has stopped accepting shipments to Mexico, with the exception of automotive. This is due to derailments and bad weather. Further, Dow Chemical has sued, and the Federal Railroad Administration and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers accuse UP of putting in drivers partially unfamiliar with the lines they work. (March 26th/29th 1998)

Union Pacific has announced that the jam has become a crisis. Heavy rains and blizzards have slowed the already clogged network and if the situation is not resolved in 30 days, UP will have to temporarily pause shipments and transfer more work to other railroads. (March 12th 1998, more here)

Union Pacific, the traffic jammed American railroad, has hade its emergency service order extended until Aug. 2 by the Surface Transportation Board late last month. The order extends BNSF's and the Tex Mex railroad's rights to run trains and serve customers on the UP network. (March 9th 1998, more here)

UP and BSNF have agreed to start a joint despatching centre in Houston. BNSF had earlier this week threatened to ask the Surface Transportation Board to snatch former Southern Pacific, which UP bought 1 years ago, from the UP network. This would have been in an effort to come to grips with the jam at UP. Meanwile, a seasonal increase in traffic is coming in March. However, Kansas City Southern filed a petition on Thursday with the Surface Transportation Board. Like the earlier Texas Railroad Commission's plan, this proposal calls for Union Pacific to sell its Houston-to-Beaumont and Houston-to-Victoria rail lines its seldom-used Booth Yard in the Ship Channel area to KCS. (February 14th 1998, more here, and here)

Ahead of a meeting on Friday the 13th concerning the jam on UP, spokesperson said UP will spend $570 million on capacity expansion in Texas and Louisiana and launch an inquiry into what went wrong. The study will be ready by the summer. Total capital spending on UP's network will remain basically unchanged in 1998. (February 13th 1998, more here)

A public hearing concerning the jam on Union Pacific will be held on March 18-20 in in Springfield, Virginia. The Surface Transportation Board wants to examine both the railroad and government oversight of Union Pacific. (February 13th 1998, more here)

Meanwhile, the UPRR has proposed joint despatching in Houston, in co-operation with BNSF and Kansas City Southern. UP says joint despatching would provide near and long-term congestion relief. KCS says it prefers a similar plan put forth by the Texas Railroad Commission. (February 9th/7th 1998, more here)

The STB has rejected BNSF's proposal to ease restrictions on serving certain customers on Union Pacific's network. The customers in question are those who have less choice of railroad since the merger of Union and Southern Pacific. Also see continuing jams on Union Pacific RR. (January 26th 1998, more here)

Another derailment on the UPRR occurred on Sunday in San Joaquin County, California, at about 11pm. Twenty-four double-stack container cars derailed and spilled latex paint, candy bars, some toilets and office supplies. Residents near the line had phoned UP's 1-800 safety line four hours before, they were concerned about unusual noises from the trains. (January 22nd 1998, more here)

The Surface Transportation Board has asked shippers to submit information on the jam at Union Pacific. STB will then consider if it can do anything more about the jam. (January 21st 1998, more here)

The jam at UPRR persists, with average train speeds during the first week this year falling to 12 mph, well below the 17 mph recorded a year ago. UPs problems have lasted more than a half year. But intermodal service between Chicago and Texas is being restored in phases. Service had been suspended while UP sorted out the congestion on its network that started last summer. (January 15th 1998, more here and here)

Union Pacific's Salt Lake City maintenance shop will be shut down by the summer, as part of a reorganization of its locomotive maintenance facilities in the western United States. Most jobs in the shop will be relocated. (January 8th 1998, more here)

Union Pacific has to let other railroads on its tracks until March 15th, the Surface Transportation Board has ruled. The STB thinks UP can't sort out its jam on its own. Several crops are spoiling due to delays at UP. And on Thursday the 4th, 13 of 120 coal cars derailed. (December 8th 1997, more here)

Twenty-four cars derailed on Union Pacific in Ceres, California on Tuesday morning. Traffic resumed past the site at 22:00 the same evening, and the track is expected to be back to normal by today. The accident comes as UP strives to prove it is a safe railway that can run trains on time. (November 13th 1997, source Altamont Press Newsline)

The UPRR has lost the American Army's business in transporting defence equipment. The last straw for the army was that UP had left a (delayed) shipment of tanks unguarded. (November 10th 1997, more here)

Another bad crash on UP, this time outside Houston, Texas, has further undermined confidence in the railroad. Four of the five locos in the collision were destroyed and all four crew had to be taken to hospital after jumping from the trains. Read more about UPs problems here and here. (October 28th 1997, source Altamont Press Newsline)

American Union Pacific has suspended Chicago - Texas intermodal service in an effort to free up resources to reduce congestion on the network. (October 23rd 1997, more here)

Union Pacific has dropped plans to charter a ship to move 660 containers from Los Angeles to Savannah on the Atlantic Coast. Plan B is to alleviate heavy congestion on the UPRR by having other railroads move 40 000 cars off the UP network. More UP News. (October 6th 1997, more here)

The UP is using the Panama Canal to unclog its midwestern network. One ship will carry 660 containers from Los Angeles, on the Pacific coast, to Savannah, on the Atlantic coast. The Union Pacific Railroad has had capacity problems since the summer, when fatal derailments wreacked havoc on traffic. Things were supposed to improve after September 16th, when the former Southern Pacific Railroad was fully integrated with UP operations. UP now says that some improvement should occur by late October. (September 30th 1997, more here)

BNSF has offered competitor UP help with driving trains in Texas. This as a result of BNSF's cars being delayed in the UP's trains, which get stuck in congestion around Houston. This would require the Surface Transportation Board to extend BNSF's trackage rights on the UP network. On September 16th, UP incorporated the former Southern Pacific's tracks, crews and equipment into the UP system. This should alleviate congestion. (September 22nd 1997, more here)

Union Pacific will test a new way of scheduling crews in the midwest as a way of coming to grips with safety and fatigue problems. The new scheduling methods are supposed to make working hours more predictable. (September 10th 1997, more here)

The Federal Railroad Administration and Union Pacific have agreed to some measures to increase safety. The agreement comes as UP is undergoing a safety investigation by the FRA. The agreement essentially calls for

Congestion in the Houston area has plagued customers of Union Pacific. Delayed and cancelled shipments prompted a meeting in Houston on Friday, where UP said congestion should ease after September 16th. UP and former SP crews will then be used interchangeably, and several UP and SP tracks will become one-way lines in the new UP network. UP bought SP last year. (September 4th 1997, more here)

The many crashes on Union Pacific of late have prompted a comprehensive investigation by the Federal Railroad Administration, which will commit between 50 and 60 inspectors. "What we are hearing and what we are finding is that as a result of the (Union Pacific's) merger with the Southern Pacific, not only are the crews working long hours, you have people without days off," FRA spokesman David Bolger told the San Antonio Express-News. (August 29th 1997, more here)

A truck on a level crossing was hit by a UP train on Sunday night, as the truck driver did not heed safety warnings. All six locos derailed, as did the front 17 of 104 cars. (August 29th 1997)

Four runaway UP locos slammed into a westbound 100-car freight near Fort Worth, Texas, at about 11:30 pm on Wednesday night, killing two crew. Leaking diesel fuel broke into flames and was not extinguished until about 2:30 am. The locos had run out of fuel and had been placed on a siding, 8 miles from the scene of the accident, at about 11:00 pm. The crew forgot to set the hand brake on three of the locos, and they started moving, reaching 60 mph before they crashed. (August 26th 1997, more here and here)

Union Pacific and it's biggest labour union are discussing how to increase employee safety. A big problem is driver fatigue and the fact that the railways operate 24 hours a day. Union Pacific has suffered two bad accidents this summer. (July 17th 1997)

The collision of two UP trains in Texas on June 22nd was caused by a dispatcher's error, a Federal Railroad Administration report says. The dispatcher in the UP headquarters in Omaha authorized the crew of a southbound train to enter a stretch of track, but forgot to tell them to wait for a northbound train which was to enter a passing siding at Gessner. The northbound train then collided with the southbound one 13 miles (21 km) north of the siding at 10:50 pm. The southbound Chicago -Mexico auto parts train was UP 9186 South, and the northbound Laredo -Livonia (La.) train was the UP 5981 North.

"We have lost 25 engineers in the last three years as a result of preventable accidents on the railroads," said William Walpert, vice president, of the 6400-member Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. (July 7th, thanx JL)

Two Union Pacific trains crashed at a siding near Rossville, Kansas, on July 2nd. A possible chlorine leak from one of the trains forced the evacuation of 1,500 people from Rossville for eight morning hours. The driver of one train was killed and the conductor in the same train was injured. This is the second bad UP crash in less than 3 weeks. (July 3rd 1997, thanx DM)

Union Pacific shut it's coal route in the Midwest for six days in the middle of June for intensive maintenance work. This was the second time this was done. UP saves money by concentrating maintenance work in this way. (June 27th 1997)

Two trains on a UP line in Texas collided on June 22nd, Sunday night. Four people were killed, the locomotive fuel exploded, 29 cars derailed, and a bridge was destroyed. The accident occured between Laredo, on the Mexican border, and San Antonio. The northbound train was carrying rocks, the southbound one carried auto parts bound for Mexico. This line is not equipped with signalling and is controlled by dispatchers in Omaha, about 1500 km north of the line. (June 25th 1997, thanx JL)

Union Pacific is starting a new intermodal train Los Angeles -Seattle. Operating six days a week, the "I-5" intermodal service offers customers third-morning availability. Intermediate stops are made at Fresno and Lathrop, California and Portland, Oregon. UP says the service was made possible the UP-SP merger; other services have started after the merger. Future work on the line will enable double-stack trains to run the service. (June 11th 1997)

Union Pacific is investing $20 million in their marshalling yard in Livonia, Louisiana (south-east USA). This will raise capacity to 2000 cars a day, compared to 1600 cars now. The work will be finished in December. The hump in the three-year-old yard is only a half meter high, which is very low. Humps are used in marshalling yards for shoving cars up on them; then the cars roll down to the right track. Speed is controlled by braking installations in the tracks. UP's braking installations are computer-controlled, which may explain the low hump. (June 4th 1997)

Union Pacific is offering a second-day delivery intermodal service between Chicago and Oakland (San Fransisco), they announced on Wednesday. UP says this service, called the "Overland Express", was made possible by the UP-SP merger and claims this is the fastest service between the two cities. 80% of the train's business is non-bulk, a very high figure for a transport mode traditionally associated with bulk. (May 3rd 1997)

Back to Erik's Rail News front page