MORE FROM THE UNION PACIFIC
Jan. 5, 2007
New UPOnline issue every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Following Two Blizzards
Salt Train Helps Replenish Dwindling Colorado Supplies
A train carrying 5,000 tons of salt is on its way to Colorado to replenish stockpiles depleted by two major snowstorms within a week.
As the second blizzard hit Colorado Dec. 28, Union Pacific's Marketing and Sales team received a call from one of its customers. Envirotech Services Inc., a supplier of salt to municipalities and cities throughout the state, was concerned about dwindling supplies.
Union Pacific immediately responded. That same evening, a train carrying 50 empty cars left Colorado, destined for a salt mine in Juab, Utah. A rock customer subleased empty cars that normally are idle this time of year to Envirotech to transport the salt.
Blizzard conditions in Cheyenne delayed the train about 24 hours, with the cars arriving in Utah Dec. 31. The last cars were loaded Wednesday morning, and the train is expected to arrive in Rolla, Colo., about 15 miles north of Denver, by Friday evening.
George Hix, senior business manager-industrial products, said Envirotech hoped to have the train unloaded by Saturday, with the empty cars immediately returning to Utah. Union Pacific expects to run three or four additional 60-car salt trains to Colorado to replenish stockpiles. Normally, supplemental salt shipments arrive on manifest trains as needed throughout the winter.
"Because of the significance of these storms, the stockpiles of salt were pretty much depleted," Hix said. He credited Union Pacific's Transportation employees, Harriman Dispatching Center personnel and the Locomotive group with stepping up so quickly. Additionally, Mechanical and Engineering employees' efforts kept the track open and equipment running during wintry weather.
"It was definitely a team response to a critical situation," Hix said. Snowfall totals from the two storms varied from 2- to 4-feet in Colorado, with Denver receiving about 37 inches.