NASCAR Style Pit-Crew Concept Improves Union Pacific Operations
Efficiency Gains Reduce Train Run-Through Process by Nearly an Hour at World's Largest Rail Yard
Omaha, Neb., October 19, 2006 Union Pacific employees today demonstrated how they are applying NASCAR style pit-crew principles to enhance operational efficiency at North America’s largest rail classification yard. Union Pacific "pit crews" are comprised of electricians, machinists, firemen, oilers and car inspectors. To understand how team work, improved communications and applying Lean process improvement principles improve the operation of east and west run-through trains, Union Pacific employees get to experience working as a pit crew on a custom-painted Union Pacific stock car.
As the reliance on rail transportation increases, there is growing pressure on Union Pacific to find ways to move trains even more quickly and efficiently. Workers responsible for refueling, inspecting and maintaining trains moving through Bailey Yard’s run-through areas employed a unique pit-crew approach to reduce dwell time -- average hours a rail car is at the specified terminal location -- and speed up the processing of run-through trains.
Run-through trains pass through a yard with no scheduled stops to add or remove rail cars. Typically, crews in North Platte handle 55-60 run-through trains a day with a dwell time of close to four hours on the east side and eight hours on the west. Using principles they learned from NASCAR pit crews, UP employees recently set a new record handling 72 trains in a 24-hour period with a dwell time of close to three hours on the east side and 6.5 hours on the west.
"Much like NASCAR pit crews who quickly and efficiently refuel, change tires and inspect cars to remain competitive during a race, our pit crews perform similar duties on trains up to 130 cars long delivering coal and other commodities as safely and efficiently as possible," said Randy Blackburn, regional vice president - North. "By standardizing each step of the run-through process, our employees have achieved sustainable improvements without compromising safety."
Since the pit-crew concept was launched, crews have reduced dwell time while handling more trains per day. The crews’ long-term train-handling goal is 80 trains per day with dwells below today’s numbers. To reach that goal, they must be able to consistently handle variations of 70 to 90 trains per day.
"We can’t easily build new track, so we’re leveraging Lean methodologies to find effective ways to increase our velocity and train through-put," said Cameron Scott, general superintendent of train services – North Platte operations. "What’s most exciting is that the pit-crew concept was created as a result of input from employees in our run-through operations and extensive analysis by members of our continuous improvement team. As a result of their combined efforts and dedication, we’re moving in a positive direction. And, over time, each new step in the run-through process will become easier and bring even more improvement."
Jobs at Union Pacific
Currently, Union Pacific has job openings at many locations throughout its 23-state operating system. Opportunities are available in train service, skilled disciplines (e.g., diesel mechanics and electricians) and management. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit www.up.com and click on "Jobs at UP."
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific’s diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada’s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America’s premier rail franchise.
For further information, contact James Barnes (402) 544-3560.
The statements and information contained in the news releases provided by Union Pacific speak only as of the date issued. Such information by its nature may become outdated, and investors should not assume that the statements and information contained in Union Pacific's news releases remain current after the date issued. Union Pacific makes no commitment, and disclaims any duty, to update any of this information.