Roberts crossings expected to re-open on schedule
A fleet of Union Pacific rail vehicles descended on Roberts by highway and rail over the weekend, working long hours Sunday and Monday to improve a stretch of track and two crossings. Equipment included a converted school bus presumably used to shuttle workers to the job site.
Work occurring Monday at Roberts is part of $4 million in improvements on 16 miles of track between Hudson and Menomonie that began in early August and is scheduled to be completed by mid December.
The project includes removing and installing 16 miles of rail, replacing 26 grade crossing surfaces and installing six switches - the machines that guide a train from one track to another.
While the Hwy. 65 viaduct over the rail was unaffected, crossings on Division - and Vine streets were closed both days and rail officials cautioned work could continue into Tuesday.
Workers could be seen downtown, visiting the grocery store and sandwich shops for food and snacks.
Union Pacific plans to spend approximately $2.6 billion in 2010 on existing and new rail links nationwide that enhance the safety and efficiency of the railroad's 32,000-mile network, according to Mark Davis, communications director for the firm's northern region.
Union Pacific Corp's principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country. Union Pacific serves much of the nation, transporting agricultural products, automobiles and parts, chemicals, fuel, industrial products and frieght containers. The railroad provides routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways.
Union Pacific also connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, Davis wrote.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, freight trains are nearly four times more fuel efficient than trucks. A single Union Pacific train can carry the equivalent cargo of 300 trucks, Davis said in a press release.