Union Pacific Railroad and Norfolk Southern on Oct. 26 introduced Gulf Coast Flyer, a rail service for the transport of chemicals between the Union Pacific-served southern Texas and Louisiana regions and Norfolk Southern destinations across the northeastern and southeastern United States. A day later, Union Pacific and CSX Transportation (CSXT) announced the launch of RailChem Connect, a coordinated rail service for expedited transport of chemicals between the Texas Gulf Coast region and the Southeast.
Gulf Coast Flyer is intended to build on improved routing and enhanced operations coordination between Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern. The railroads are promoting expedited service for customers between the Gulf Coast region and major markets across the Northeast and Southeast. Eastbound and westbound shipments between the two railroads connect at the Salem, Ill., and New Orleans, La., gateways.
The railroads said they had made a combined investment of $740 million in terminals, main lines, bridges and sidings along Gulf Coast Flyer lanes from 2006 to 2008, resulting in shorter transit times and improved reliability.
The RailChem Connect service is the result of a redesign by Union Pacific and CSXT for their chemicals market customers to allow shipments to bypass smaller rail yards for expedited transit between major hubs. The service links Union Pacific-served chemical markets such as Houston, southern Texas and Louisiana, and CSXT-served consumption markets in the southeastern states.
The two railroads said they have reduced the transit time between major markets in the last three years while improving consistency as well. Over the same period, they have invested in new capacity and upgraded track and facilities in the RailChem Connect lanes as well.