Union Pacific Opens Donner Pass Route

Union Pacific Railroad began running double-stacked container trains over the Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada mountain range after a 12-month construction project to carve out bigger tunnel clearances.

UP said it enlarged 15 tunnels between the California cities of Truckee and Rocklin, and upgraded 30 miles of track to eliminate "dark territory" by connecting that segment to a centralized traffic control signal network.

John Kaiser, UP's intermodal vice president and general manager, said the project supports rail customers connecting with Northern California and the Port of Oakland. He said using Donner Pass for stack trains will cut shipment times compared with the Feather River Canyon route UP has been using.

The company said this route is 73 miles shorter. With the improvements UP has made it will be able to run 9,000-foot trains on the Donner route, for a 58-percent increase from the 5,700-foot trains it runs through Feather River Canyon.

- By John D. Boyd