Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Steve Hansen

Track project wraps up

100 miles were laid, $19M spent including supplies, manpower.


A major Union Pacific Railroad track maintenance project through Quay and Guadalupe counties was just finishing up, a UP spokesperson said Wednesday.

The project, which began in February, involves 100 miles of track between Tucumcari and Vaughn, Jeff DeGraff, media relations director for UP's Southern Division said.

The Southern Division includes the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, according to the railroad's website.

The railroad spent $19 million on the project, including supplies and manpower costs, DeGraff said.

Crews replaced more than 135,000 wooden railroad ties and installed more than 92,000 tons of ballast rock on railbeds, he said.

As the track maintenance crews advanced along the tracks, DeGraff said, they evaluated the condition of ties and replaced ones they knew were at the end of their useful life.

“The ties are staggered,” he said, “so they alternate older ones with newer, so we have a stable base.”

While the maintenance crews did not include local employees, he said, they contribute to local economies by using local lodging and restaurants.

The crews numbered up to 100, DeGraff said,

“Some would shift in and out, but that was about the average size during the project,” he said..

The crew that has been working on the Tucumcari-to-Vaughn project will now head to Nebraska, DeGraff said.

In all, DeGraff said, the railroad plans $38 million in capital expenditure in New Mexico.

From 2013-2017, the news release said, UP has invested more than $115 million on New Mexico tracks.

“Our targeted investments support customers and enhance our efficiency to deliver the goods American businesses and families use daily,” said Brenda Mainwaring, UP's assistant vice president for public affairs in the southern region, in the news release.

Union Pacific Railroad serves 10,000 customers in 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country, the news release said.


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