Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Coal-train investment pays off for Union Pacific customers

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Union Pacific announced that it hauled its 200,000th coal train out of the Southern Powder River Basin on Tuesday, a benchmark that UP said "proves the capital investment in our coal corridor continues to pay dividends for our customers."

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UP's announcement coincided with the railroad's testimony at a congressional hearing on re-regulation legislation that UP says could "significantly" reduce its capital spending.

"One rail car of coal provides the energy to generate enough electricity for more than 20 homes for a year," noted the railroad. “Union Pacific's 200,000 trains out of the SPRB have carried enough coal to power all the homes in the United States for five years. Approximately 50% of America's electricity comes from coal, one of the most affordable and reliable energy sources."

Some of the railroad industry's utility coal customers are among those "captive shippers" who have been supporting a bill in Congress that would removes the industry's few remaining antitrust exemptions, which the Association of American Railroads says could be the backdoor to re-regulation on a broad scale.