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Union Pacific to move faster

After recently improving its industrial rail line that serves industries in the Tri-Cities, Union Pacific Railroad plans to run to trains at a faster speed on the track that generally parallels highway 240. The increased train speeds on nearly 12 miles of the track will help Union Pacific trains to operate more efficiently and also cut wait times at crossings for motorists, said company spokesman Mark Davis. Train speeds will increase from 10mph to 20 mph beginning Sept. 1, Davis said. Union Pacific invested $2.8million this year on track improvements in Kennewick. More than 24,000 new wooden ties were installed and 15,000 tons of rock ballast was placed to upgrade the track as part of the maintenance program, Davis said. Union Pacific spends about $1.7billion annually on track maintenance across its system, which is spread in 23 states across the western two-thirs of the United States, Davis said. The company also is upgrading nine existing grade crossing on public streets. It's mostly about improving the surface, Davis said. "It'll help improve the safety of our operations," he said. --- This article was published in the Tri-City Herald Business August 19, 2009

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