More Efficient Locomotives

Union Pacific Railroad expects to spend
an estimated $1 billion on system companywide

The CBTC also is expected to help increase productivity
by boosting the number of trains that can operate on a track

By Emily Brandler

Union Pacific Corp. says it plans to implement an up to $1 billion technological system that will revolutionize the way it operates its locomotives, and has chosen a route that runs between Spokane and Cranbrook, British Columbia, as one of two testing sites for that cutting edge technology.

The big Omaha, Neb.-based railway company will spend about $20 million to implement and test the system, called communication-based train control (CBTC), on the 140-mile route between here and Cranbrook, called the Spokane Sub, and a 193-mile route, called the South Morrill Sub, which runs through parts of Nebraska and Wyoming.

Jeff Young, Union Pacific’s assistant vice president of transportation systems, says the tests on both routes are expected to launch by August and take about two years to complete. For the Spokane Sub test, Union Pacific will train 55 employees and equip 15 locomotives with the CBTC system, while Calgary, Alberta-based Canadian Pacific Railway, which interchanges with Union Pacific along the track at Eastport, Idaho, will install the CBTC on 15 of its locomotives.

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