Union Pacific to gain trackage rights over Norfolk Southern’s former Wabash in Missouri, Illinois

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Map of proposed trackage rights proposed by Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern and filed with the Surface Transportation Board.
Surface Transportation Board
WASHINGTON — Norfolk Southern’s former Wabash main line across Missouri and Illinois may be getting a little busier as part of a new shortcut for Union Pacific.

UP is seeking Surface Transportation Board approval for a 288-mile trackage rights deal over NS between the Kansas City, Mo., area and Springfield, Ill. UP’s regulatory filing, dated April 8, was posted to the STB website on Wednesday.

The agreement would begin May 29 and remain in effect for at least two years before expiring in 15 years, according to UP’s regulatory filing.

“These trackage rights will provide UP with an alternate route between Kansas City and Springfield, Illinois, providing for increased efficiency in operations,” UP said in its filing.

The former Wabash route will create a shortcut for UP between Kansas City and Chicago via Springfield.

The impetus for the trackage rights deal was UP’s desire to reach its Global IV intermodal terminal in Joliet, Ill., using its former Alton route without having to go via St. Louis, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It was not clear whether UP plans to divert two pairs of high-priority intermodal trains that currently run between Kansas City and Joliet, Ill., on BNSF Railway trackage rights. A UP spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The public version of the filing did not provide traffic volume expectations or what types of traffic might be excluded. The deal has been in the works for a while: The railroads signed a memorandum of understanding in February 2017 and then signed the trackage-rights agreement on April 30, 2018, according to the filing.

UP will be able to route trains between Control Point Diamond at Birmingham, Mo., on NS’s Kansas City District and Control Point Iles at Springfield, Ill., on the NS Springfield District. UP trains also could enter and exit the trackage-rights route at Control Point CA Junction in Camden, Mo.

UP trains will change crews in or near Mark Twain’s boyhood hometown of Hannibal, Mo., where the former Wabash line curves through tunnel and emerges to cross the BNSF Railway Hannibal Subdivision diamond before spanning the Mississippi River.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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