Union Pacific idles fourth hump under move to Precision Scheduled Railroading

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OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific today confirmed that it has stopped humping cars at Neff Yard in Kansas City, Mo.

Neff is the fourth hump UP has idled amid its shift to Precision Scheduled Railroading. The humps at Proviso Yard in Chicago, Hinkle Yard in Oregon, and Pine Bluff Yard in Arkansas were previously mothballed as the railroad de-emphasizes major terminals and switches cars fewer times en route.

UP shut the hump at Neff Yard this week.

“As a result, we will now build overhead blocks to drive cars deeper into the network and leverage existing flat switching terminals in the Kansas City complex,” Chief Operating Officer Jim Vena told investors and analysts on the railroad’s quarterly earnings call Thursday morning.

Some of Neff’s switching work will shift to UP’s 18th Street and Armourdale yards in Kansas City, Kan. Approximately 200 jobs were cut at Neff, although some of the laid off railroaders will be offered positions elsewhere on the UP system.

Employment levels at UP dropped by 13%, or 5,664 positions, in the third quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

UP also says it shifted classification work out of its Davis Yard in Roseville, Calif., to other facilities in the region, which has sped up transit times for merchandise shipments, Vena says.

Vena did not say that UP has idled the hump at Roseville, which the railroad has billed as the largest yard west of the Rockies.

In Louisiana, UP has moved switching performed at Alexandria to its more efficient hump yard in Livonia, Vena says.

“Going forward we will continue to look for ways to reduce car touches, which undoubtedly [will] lead to additional terminal rationalization opportunities on our network,” Vena says.

UP’s key operating metrics improved in the quarter as it continued to make changes under its Unified Plan 2020, its version of Precision Scheduled Railroading.

Terminal dwell improved by 20% compared to a year ago, while freight car velocity, measured by miles per day, was up by 10%. Train speed dipped by 1%, which Vena attributes to longer trains doing more work en route.

Systemwide train length is up 15% this year, led by a 21% increase in train length in the Chicago-Texas Mid-America Corridor and an 18% increase in the Sunset Corridor between Southern California and Santa Teresa, N.M., which is just west of El Paso, Texas.

UP has completed projects to add and extend sidings on the remaining single-track sections of the Sunset Route, enabling it to handle the longer trains, Vena says.

Locomotive productivity improved 18% as UP had 2,600 locomotives stored as of Sept. 30.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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