Union Pacific facilities range from large rail yards that process rail cars to large and small offices. At each location, our focus is to ensure they operate effectively, which translates to the most reliable product for our customers and the least waste possible.
A rail yard’s effectiveness impacts the company’s operational success. Reducing the amount of time trains spend in rail yards reduces transit time and improves delivery reliability. Union Pacific is focused on optimizing yard performance, measuring train processing metrics and identifying ways to improve performance.
Our Continuous Improvement team worked with service units in 2012 to increase train velocity and to deploy the UP Way, which focuses on employee engagement in continuous improvement. The team increased the average number of cars processed per day in six targeted locations by 22%, and averaged an 18% improvement in locomotive productivity in five locations. The team also completed 17 Terminal projects, which increased the average run-though time by 19%.
By changing Union Pacific’s paradigm from “buy more assets” to “evaluate and improve the process,” Union Pacific has eliminated waste, improved services and increased productivity. It has also minimized our environmental impact by reducing waste and conserving energy.
Distribution Centers & Terminals
Union Pacific streamlines equipment processing at intermodal and auto handling facilities across the system, resulting in reduced fuel use and fewer emissions.
Our automotive terminals are equipped with charging stations to support electric vehicles moving to market. We operate a hybrid vehicle for use at our Mira Loma, CA, terminal, and have implemented recycling programs. Our third party switching partners follow Union Pacific's fuel conservation engine shutdown guidelines. Our contractors, guards and haul away carriers use electric "gold carts" at many Union Pacific facilities. All initiatives add to our efforts to improve fuel conservation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Our Intermodal terminals feature state-of-the-art technology to limit truck idling time by scheduling truck arrivals more precisely. Driver scanning technology allows a truck to enter our facilities faster than ever, cutting each truck’s processing time from several minutes to as little as 30 seconds. Our ICTF facility in Long Beach, Cal., has the first-ever hybrid electric crane to further reduce emissions.
Union Pacific recycles oil, paper, cardboard, plastics, metal, e-Waste, railroad ties and more at facilities across America every day.
As we expand and update facilities, we look at opportunities to reduce our environmental impact. For instance, Union Pacific's 785-acre Joliet Intermodal Terminal, which opened in 2010, features solar panels to provide electricity to the terminal’s office and air compressors with “soft start” technology that uses less energy.
These concepts are at the heart of Union Pacific's efforts to modernize its Intermodal Container Transfer Facility near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Read more about plans to nearly double capacity at the facility while reducing air emissions and the size of the yard.
Employees at Union Pacific mechanical shops are responsible for the safe and efficient maintenance and performance of locomotives and rail cars. Our team operates these facilities with a focus on safety, standard work processes to avoid waste, and productivity.
Employees focus on scheduled and preventative maintenance and are responsible for train inspections at the initial terminal and after they operate every 1,000 miles. Detecting component defects before they become a problem on the mainline avoids derailments that impact safety, service reliability and customer commitments.
Union Pacific’s shops are a focal point for resource management and achieve high recycling rates by coordinating resource consumption and waste management. For example, our De Soto, Mo., car shop works closely with nearby customers and businesses to recycle paper products, aluminum, plastic, tires, pallets, waste sand-blast shot and other materials. Employees donate proceeds to schools for field trips and Christmas gifts for local children in need.
Wastewater and Stormwater Management
To meet federal, state and local compliance obligations and minimize our impact on the environment, we operate and maintain more than 90 wastewater treatment facilities across our system.
Our wastewater treatment facilities are designed to capture and process wastewater from our fueling and maintenance operations. Wastewater is treated and discharged in accordance with state and federal requirements.
Union Pacific has implemented and maintains more than 130 Stormwater Pollution Prevention plans at all facilities where maintenance of locomotives and rail cars occurs. These plans identify inspections, maintenance and best-management practices to ensure the stormwater that contacts our facilities is not contaminated.
Union Pacific Center
Our corporate headquarters in Omaha, Neb., Union Pacific Center, was designed with efficiency and sustainability as key guidelines. For example, a central atrium provides natural light, reducing the need for artificial light and electricity demand. An under-floor heating and cooling system keeps the building comfortable in Nebraska summers while using less energy than more conventional climate control systems. The building is equipped with a sophisticated air-handling system that uses a central computer to control fan speed depending on the number of people in the building, ensuring that climate control equipment is based on the needs of people rather than the thermostat presets.
Union Pacific Center received the Silver certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Existing Buildings rating system in 2012. For LEED certification, the company further reduced the building’s environmental impact through HVAC system improvements, a “green cleaning” program, improving lighting efficiency and reducing water consumption.
Efficient data center management is a key focus as well. During 2012, as a result of improved air flow management processes, we reduced computer room air conditioning units from 20 to 15 units.
In 2012, the EPA awarded Union Pacific Center its seventh consecutive Energy Star® designation. The Department of Energy recognized our headquarters with an Energy Innovators Award.
Harriman Dispatching Center
Managing the trains carrying our customers’ goods requires precision and skill. Union Pacific train dispatchers are responsible for the safe and efficient movement of trains across the rail network. Employees at the Harriman Dispatching Center in Omaha and six satellite dispatching locations monitor and manage train flow across the system.
The Harriman Dispatching Center is housed in a historic brick building constructed in 1891 as a freight house. Nearly 100 years later, the freight house was repurposed as the nation’s first centralized dispatching center. A reinforced concrete bunker houses the train dispatchers, their computerized equipment and the train management team.
An extensive remodeling project in 2007 brought improvements: high-efficiency lighting, a sound-absorbing “acoustic cloud” ceiling constructed from renewable resources, and state-of-the-art air handling equipment utilizing ultraviolet antibacterial processes used in many hospitals. Heat is provided by heat-reclamation equipment, no supplemental heating is required.
Energy savings is not limited to just the central office. For instance, dispatchers traditionally have controlled switch heaters, which allow the use of power switches in snow and ice conditions. Automated activation/deactivation based on temperature and moisture sensor readings is replacing manual operation, saving money and natural resources.