Snyder & Associates served as the lead designer for this project, which was aimed at bringing unit train shipping capability to a global agricultural products corporation in northern Iowa. The project site was served by the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) through manifest train service but didn’t possess the rail assets needed to accommodate unit trains. The UP required space for 110 cars with 48 hour turnaround time on equipment and a drive in, drive out design. Unfortunately, the existing yard and loading equipment was unable to accommodate these requirements. Assistance was initially provided to verify the overall feasibility of adding unit train service. After determining that required improvements were possible and that UP could provide service, the design of upgrades was initiated.
The owner operates an established, busy yard facility that must remain in service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year during construction. Working with the owner, designs were developed to enable continued operation and accommodation of unit trains. To handle unit trains, extensive changes in standard facility operating procedures were required. We assisted the owner to develop operating sequences that drove design parameters. The design included extensive grading and construction of approximately 14,000 feet of additional track, turnouts, grade crossings, and connections to the existing yard track. Numerous utilities were present in the construction area. Coordination of utility relocation and accommodation was conducted throughout the project design.
Space was limited, so creative layout design was critical. A new track was designed running parallel to the existing UP corridor with geometry designed to accommodate large road locomotives and switching equipment. The owner hasn’t released the project for construction yet.