Union Pacific debuts new tapered railcar aimed at efficiency

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Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 12:00 am

If you happen to drive between Joliet, Ill., and Long Beach, Calif., there’s a chance you’ll catch a glimpse of a new aerodynamic type of railcar rolling down the tracks.

Introduced this month on the Joliet-Long Beach route by Omaha-based Union Pacific, the Arrowedge will sit on top of a freight container and, with its tapered body, allow air to more easily flow around a double-stack intermodal train. Such trains allow containers of goods to be moved by ship, truck and train without unpacking the goods.

U.P. will be getting eight Arrowedges. They do not carry freight and will be placed on top of the first intermodal box behind the lead locomotive on a train.

A years-in-the-making design by U.P. employees, the 48-foot Arrowedge will decrease the amount of locomotive power required to propel a train and more efficiently move U.P.’s roughly 10,000 customers’ goods. The technology will reduce fuel use and locomotive emissions and enhance customer service, said Mike Iden, general director of car and locomotive engineering.

“We are excited to see the results of this innovation in action and how it can springboard further research and development,” he said.

U.P. says a single U.P. train is able to replace 300 trucks, reducing emissions and wear on the country’s roads and bridges.

The railroad holds two U.S. patents for the Arrowedge and has additional U.S. and Canadian patents pending.

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