Spokane Journal of Business

Union Pacific completes North Idaho line upgrades

$10.9 million job involved 95-mile segment of rail between Eastport, Athol

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Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific Railroad recently has completed a $10.9 million infrastructure upgrade for 95 miles of a rail line that runs between the small communities of Athol and Eastport in North Idaho.

This Union Pacific railroad line eventually connects to the Canadian rail system at its north end, and it extends into Spokane to the south.

The project that started in April involved replacing more than 79,000 railroad ties and installing more than 28,000 tons of rock ballast along the rail line to provide a more stable roadbed, Union Pacific says in a press release. Additionally, crews renewed surfaces at 83 road crossings.

Union Pacific acted as its own contractor on the project, which it finished on June 22, says Aaron Hunt, a Roseville, Calif.-based spokesman for the railroad. It made the infrastructure improvements during certain times of day to allow freight train traffic to continue to operate as scheduled.

Hunt says Union Pacific plans to invest a total of $3.6 billion in its U.S. rail network this year. The railroad says on its website that it has a fleet of more than 8,000 locomotives that run on a 32,000-mile network.

Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of July 1, 1862, creating the original Union Pacific. Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corp., linking 23 states in the western two-thirds of the U.S. by rail for freight train service transporting food, raw materials, and durable and consumer goods, among other items.

By 2035, U.S. railroads are expected to carry 38 percent more cargo than they do today, a Union Pacific Railroad report says.

Treva Lind
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Reporter Treva Lind covers natural resources and technology at the Journal of Business. A Nevada transplant and recovering swim mom, Treva has worked for the Journal since 2011.

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