Happy Birthday Union Pacific!
Union Pacific celebrates its 150th birthday this week, honoring decades of delivering superior service and transporting goods to American businesses and families. Established on July 1, 1862, with the signing of the Pacific Railway Act by President Abraham Lincoln, Union Pacific is the largest and most successful railroad network in the United States.
Union Pacific has supplied the country with logistics, global supply chain and freight solutions, helping businesses thrive for over a century. Through the past 150 years, the iconic company has remained a backbone for the economy by investing in the nation’s infrastructure.
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According to the company’s website, "Union Pacific delivers the goods American businesses and families use daily - everything from cars and clothes to sugar and lumber - and we help U.S. industries and companies compete in the global market by providing safe, reliable and environmentally responsible freight transportation," said Jack Koraleski, president and CEO. "We expanded President Lincoln's vision from using the railroad to link the east and the west to using the railroad to connect the U.S. to the world. Nearly 40 percent of our business is international in either origin or destination and we are the only North American railroad with access to all six major Mexico rail gateways."
Some of Union Pacific's ongoing transportation infrastructure projects include:
- Adding a second line of track along the Sunset Corridor, which runs from Los Angeles to El Paso, increasing the number of trains Union Pacific can operate along that important route that takes goods to and from Southern California to the Southeast.
- A $400 million intermodal and fueling facility in Santa Teresa, N.M. - and also on the Sunset Corridor - that will support increased rail traffic and even help increase freight capacity at some west coast ports.
- Approximately $500 million in capacity improvements and maintenance projects over the next several years in Louisiana to help America's agriculture, chemical and crude oil businesses grow.
- Investing nearly $300 million over the next several years on its Central Corridor through Blair, Neb., reducing by 25 miles the distance trains will need to travel around Omaha. Once completed, the Blair improvements will save two to four hours of travel time per train.
- Purchasing approximately 200 new locomotives this year - at cost of about $2 million or so each – equipped with the latest technology to increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany