Union Pacific, Watco invest in refrigerated train business

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KETCHUM, Idaho — Union Pacific and Watco Cos.’ East Idaho Railroad are making investments in a refrigerated rail business that moves produce and other food from the West Coast to Upstate New York, Capital Press reports.

The rail service begins in Wallula, Wash., on Union Pacific rails. The refrigerated cars then pass through Oregon before picking up outbound reefer cars from Watco’s East Idaho Railroad at Pocatello, Idaho. The service then highballs for Chicago where it is interchanged to CSX Transportation for shipment to Syracuse, N.Y., and ultimately Rotterdam, N.Y.

The service, dubbed the Cold Connect, and previously known as the Food Train, will see improvements that make rail service more competitive with trucking and a benefit to Idaho potato farmers.

Cold Connect trains currently run three days a week, but Sam Hughes, assistant vice president of food and refrigerated products at UP, says the railroad and its partners are looking into ways to increase that service to four of five trains per week.

According to Hughes, the railroad has seen an 18-percent growth in Idaho potato shipments this year.

To handle the new business, Watco has leased 20 refrigerated cars that will be outfitted with special racks and rollers to join the existing fleet.

The railroad has also plans to expand the rail service to other partners. The specialty food cars are already being rerouted in Chicago and hauled to other destinations on Norfolk Southern.

See the original story online.

CORRECTION: The town where this service begins is Wallula, Wash. An earlier version of this report incorrectly spelled the town's name. Sept. 18, 2017, 12:37 p.m. Central time.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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