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UP produces 'record' quarterly results

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 7/22/2021 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Union Pacific Railroad today reported 2021 second-quarter net income of $1.8 billion, or $2.72 per diluted share, compared to $1.1 billion, or $1.67 per diluted share, a year ago. The Class I leveraged volume growth, core pricing gains and productivity to produce record quarterly results, UP Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz said in a press release. Compared with Q2 2020 results, UP's operating revenue of $5.5 billion jumped 30%; business volumes, as measured by total revenue carloads, at 2 million units climbed 22%; and operating income of $2.5 billion soared 50%. UP's operating ratio improved to 55.1% during the quarter from 61% a year ago. Higher fuel prices negatively impacted the operating ratio by 210 basis points, UP officials said. Also during Q2, UP’s freight car velocity was 213 daily miles per car, a 6% decline; locomotive productivity was 140 gross ton-miles per horsepower day, a 3% improvement; average maximum train length was 9,410 feet, a 9% increase; and fuel consumption rate (measured in gallons of fuel per thousand gross ton-miles) improved 3%. "Importantly, these strong results were achieved in a challenging environment as our rail network continues to be impacted by supply chain disruptions, particularly in the intermodal space," said Fritz. "As we move into the second half of 2021, we will continue working with our customers and the broader supply chain to increase fluidity and efficiently handle the strong demand for freight transportation."

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UP tank cars assist lava fire fight

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 7/13/2021 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Beginning June 29, Union Pacific used its water tank train to help fight a lava fire in Northern California. Photo – up.com

A Union Pacific Railroad firefighting crew with water tank cars from the Class I's fleet helped fight a lava fire in Northern California in late June, according to an article on UP's website.

UP operates a fleet of about 50 water tank cars known as the fire-car fleet. The former tank cars were converted into water pump cars and can hold 7,000 to 23,000 gallons of water. They feature nozzles that can spray water more than 75 feet.

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UP announces DEI giving goals

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 6/18/2021 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Union Pacific Railroad yesterday announced new diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) giving goals, as well as a summer tour that features a new commemorative locomotive dedicated to diversity. UP believes DEI principles are critical to its success. As a result, UP officials are asking every program or organization that it supports financially through its Community Ties Giving Program to demonstrate a commitment to DEI principles by 2023, company officials said in a press release. The company views its goal of reaching 100% of DEI-aligned grants as a multiyear effort. Meanwhile, UP's new "We are One" tour will begin tomorrow, Juneteenth Day, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. The brightly colored locomotive will start its 2021 journey in Houston, Texas. UP No. 1979 is only Union Pacific's 18th commemorative locomotive. It honors the company's nine employee resource groups (ERGs) and the work they do to support DEI. The unit commemorates the year UP's first ERG ‚ the Black Employee Network, was established in 1979.

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UP service unit cuts reportable injuries by 25%

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 6/9/2021 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Yardmen Marty Kern and Chris Tompkins Photo – up.com

Union Pacific Railroad's Heartland Service Unit has reduced its personal reportable injuries by 25% and human factor-derailments by 58% so far in 2021.

One of the unit's initiatives, called "Walk-with-Me Wednesdays," engages directly with train crews, UP officials said in an item posted on the Class I's InsideTrack web page. Each Wednesday, supervisors walk around the yard with two employees and show them how safe and reliable service impacts customers.

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'We Are ONE' commemorative locomotive debuts

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 5/28/2021 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image UP No. 1979 is named after the year the Class I launched its first ERG, the Black Employee Network. Photo – up.com

Union Pacific Railroad's "We Are ONE" Employee Resource Group (ERG) commemorative locomotive is ready to hit the tracks. UP No. 1979 is named after the year in which the Class I established its first ERG, the Black Employee Network (BEN).

The locomotive will travel through UP's system on its way to the ONE ERG conference to be held in Omaha Sept. 1-2. Its unveiling will be held in Houston in honor of Juneteenth day, the holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States.

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Union Pacific unveils ESG goals in annual report

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 5/4/2021 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image The 2020 Building America Report is the first to include the company's Fact Book. Photo – up.com

Union Pacific Railroad yesterday published its 2020 Building America Report, the railroad's annual report on its environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.

The report unveils UP's new cumulative ESG strategy called "Building a Sustainable Future 2030," which includes four areas of concentration: investing in the UP workforce, driving sustainable solutions, championing environmental stewardship and strengthening the communities UP serves.

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UP constructing grain transload terminal near Chicago

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 4/30/2021 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Union Pacific Railroad is building a state-of-the-art grain transload facility within its Global IV intermodal terminal in Joliet, Illinois. The UP Global IV Transload facility will be managed by JCT, a 50-50 joint venture between Consolidated Grain and Barge Co. and Gavilon Grain LLC. Construction began this month and completion is anticipated by fourth-quarter 2021. Once fully operational, the terminal will have the capacity to process 50,000 containers per year, UP officials said in a press release. UP Global IV Transload will be open to all Midwest agricultural producers and processors, expanding connection opportunities to both empty containers and UPs extensive West Coast port terminal network. Regional producers and processors will be able to transport their product by truck to Global IV, where it will be transloaded into containers for shipment by rail to West Coast ports, then loaded onto ocean carriers and shipped to overseas markets. The program will offer greater access to containers for exporters and faster turnaround times for ocean carriers, UP officials said. "This facility will support the regional agriculture economy by providing reduced supply-chain costs and efficient loading support for exporting grain products, whole grains and oilseeds," said Kari Kirchhoefer, UP's vice president of marketing and sales premium. "By co-locating on site at G4, we create greater efficiencies within the supply chain."

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Union Pacific reports lower profit, revenue in Q1

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 4/22/2021 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Union Pacific Corp. today reported first-quarter 2021 net income of $1.3 billion, or $2 per diluted share, compared with $1.5 billion, or $2.15 per diluted share, during the same period a year ago.The Class I’s operating revenue of $5 billion declined 4% during the quarter. Business volumes, as measured by total revenue carloads, fell 1% compared to Q1 2020 due to declines in industrial and bulk shipments, partially offset by strength in premium carloads.The quarter presented "some real challenges that impacted our results," said Lance Fritz, UP's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "We generated solid productivity through efficient use of our resources despite the significant weather event that covered most of our network in February and early March," Fritz said in a press release. "Looking to the rest of the year, an improving economic outlook, our continued commitment to value based pricing that exceeds inflation and the opportunity for strong productivity give us confidence to affirm our 2021 guidance."UP reported a Q1 operating ratio of 60.1%, up from 59% last year. The increase was attributed to weather and rising fuel prices.Quarterly freight revenue declined 5%, as core pricing gains were more than offset by a less favorable business mix, decreased fuel surcharge revenue and volume declines.Also during the quarter, UP's “service product and lower cost structure” attracted new business and growth opportunities, Fritz said."There are many more growth opportunities to capture by also helping our customers efficiently and reliably reduce the carbon intensity of their supply chains," he said.

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UP to close East Texas rail-car maintenance facility

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 4/19/2021 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Union Pacific Railroad last week notified employees that it will close a rail-car maintenance facility in Palestine, Texas, with 57 positions to be eliminated in mid-June. "This workforce reduction is the result of operational changes across our system and is part of Union Pacific’s continuous effort to provide competitive rail service to our customers," UP officials said in an emailed statement. While the Class I is closing its main car repair facility in Palestine, limited car repair activities will continue in the Palestine area, they said. "We did not take this step lightly but we are determined to do the right thing for the thousands of customers, employees and communities who rely on us to help build sustainable economic growth across the western two-thirds of the United States," UP officials said. "We appreciate the support we have received over the years in the communities of Palestine and Anderson County, as well as the hard work and dedication of our employees. We are working with those impacted to help them with job placement activities."    

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UP moved record number of wind trains, high-wide loads in 2020

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 4/5/2021 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image UP's clearance team is responsible for measuring and ensuring the safe movement of high-wide loads on bridges.Photo – up.com

Union Pacific Railroad in 2020 moved 404 total wind trains, a record high at more than one per day.

Last year's record broke its previous annual record of 242 wind trains, which was set in 2019, UP reported last week in its InsideTrack newsletter.

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UP named top ‘military-friendly’ employer

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 9/29/2020 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image More than 17 percent of Union Pacific employees have military backgrounds.Photo – UP

Union Pacific Railroad was designated the top “Military Friendly Employer” in the transportation industry for 2021 and ranked No. 7 overall by Viqtory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs magazine.

More than 17 percent of UP employees, or 6,300, are veterans and active-service military members. 

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UP awards millions in grants to pandemic-related efforts

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 9/18/2020 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image UP SVP and Chief Administrative Officer Scott Moore is president of the Union Pacific Foundation.Photo – up.com

Union Pacific Railroad's Community Ties Giving Program has awarded $10.2 million in local grants to more than 930 nonprofit organizations across the Class I's 23-state system.

Traditionally, UP awards grants in the company's three philanthropic priorities: safety, workforce development and community spaces. However, this year, nearly $7 million is being awarded to efforts to address needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, UP officials said in a press release.

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UP dispatches 'water train' to fight California wildfires

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 9/9/2020 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image A UP crew used the water train to fight a fire near Spring Garden, California.Photo – UP's InsideTrack newsletter

A team of Union Pacific Railroad engineering employees have been on the front lines of battling hot spots along the railroad's track, bridges and tunnels as wildfires roar across Northern California.

The crew have been using the UP water train, which consists of two rail cars that each hold 12,500 gallons of water and a pumper. The train goes back and forth over a 7-miles stretch, traversing up to 50 miles a day, UP officials said in railroad's InsideTrack newsletter.

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UP to operate Bailey Yard as single classification yard

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 9/3/2020 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Union Pacific Railroad will begin operating its Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska, as a single classification yard, the railroad confirmed yesterday. The Class I will consolidate its rail-car sorting operations in the yard's newest and westernmost hump yard. The change is due to improved customer shipping processing times, said Raquel Espinoza, UP's senior director of corporate communications and media relations, in an email. "All rail shipments will be sorted on the west side of Bailey Yard, which plays a critical role on the Union Pacific network," she said. "The changes are a testament to the team's operational excellence and safe, reliable service to customers." UP does not anticipate the changes to have a "significant impact" on its 1,600 employees in North Platte, Espinoza added. The yard's workforce went through several rounds of layoffs and other job reductions after UP unveiled its Unified Plan 2020 in late 2018, according to The North Platte Telegraph.  In May, another round of layoffs was announced due to lower traffic related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Considered the world's largest rail classification yard, Bailey Yard covers 2,850 acres, reaching a total length of 8 miles.

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UP preps for Houston intermodal yard consolidation, Hurricane Laura damage

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 8/27/2020 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image As part of its Unified Plan 2020 operational strategy, Union Pacific Railroad plans to consolidate its intermodal operations in the Houston area in fall.Currently, both the Englewood and Settegast yards process intermodal shipments. But beginning Sept. 21, the Class I will consolidate all intermodal operations for international and domestic service at Settegast Yard to make operations simpler and more efficient, said UP Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales Kenny Rocker in an Aug. 26 customer announcement.The consolidation will streamline train service and ramp operations, and help increase service frequency to multiple markets.
 
“After we move intermodal operations out of the Englewood facility, we will have additional capacity for our manifest operations at that location,” Rocker wrote. “This shift will further improve the network fluidity in the Houston area, providing … safer and more consistent service — a major win for all customers.”Meanwhile, to prepare for the effects of Hurricane Laura — which struck Louisiana and Texas today — UP over the past few days staged resources such as generators and ballast at strategic locations, and added fueling stations and crews in the Gulf Coast area.
 
“Our teams have made preparations to ensure any potential outages are addressed and repaired as quickly as possible,” Rocker wrote.

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UP's Q2 revenue, profit plummet on lower volumes

Union Pacific Corp. posted a 24 percent decline in second-quarter operating revenue and a 28 percent decline in net income as the Class I faced a 20 percent drop in volume due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Class I reported second-quarter 2020 net income of $1.1 billion, or $1.67 per diluted share, compared with $1.6 billion, or $2.22 per diluted share, a year ago.

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UP's Fritz calls for action on racial injustice

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 6/5/2020 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Lance FritzPhoto – up.com

Union Pacific Corp. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz earlier this week posted on the railroad's website a statement about the recent racial injustice events that spurred protests throughout the nation over the past week.

Fritz began by noting that UP employees formed the Black Employee Network 40 years ago to help company leadership understand and respond to the company's African American employees.

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UP reduces Bailey Yard workforce

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 5/22/2020 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Union Pacific Railroad earlier this week laid off an unspecified number of workers in the mechanical department at Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska. The layoff was related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Platte Telegraph reported. Raquel Espinoza, UP's senior director of corporate communications and media relations, confirmed the workforce reduction in an email. She declined to indicate how many people were affected.  "Union Pacific is experiencing volume declines as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the country," she said in a statement to the Telegraph. "We are operating fewer locomotives and rail cars, requiring us to reduce our workforce in the mechanical department." Bailey Yard lost about 250 jobs last year, based on local estimates, as the Class I implemented its Unified Plan 2020 operating model throughout its network, the newspaper reported. For the week ending May 16, UP handled 67,603 carloads, down from 92,535 during the same week in 2019, according to Association of American Railroads data.  

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UP shutters Cold Connect service

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 5/12/2020 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Cold Connect is a Loup Logistics service that moves refrigerated products from the West Coast to UP's warehouse in Rotterdam, New York.Photo – upcoldconnect.com

Customers were notified late last week that Union Pacific Railroad is ceasing operations of Cold Connect, a Loup Logistics service that moves refrigerated products from the West Coast to UP's warehouse in Rotterdam, New York.

On May 8, employees were informed that the service would permanently close and most Cold Connect-related positions have been eliminated, said UP spokesman Tim McMahan in an email.

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UP to host annual meeting via audio

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 4/30/2020 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Union Pacific Corp. announced yesterday it will conduct its 2020 annual shareholders meeting on May 14 only through live audio. The decision to cancel an in-person event was made to protect the health of shareholders, employees and other stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic, UP officials said in a press release. All UP shareholders as of the close of business on March 20 are invited to attend the meeting, they said.

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