Union Pacific begins work on $550 million Brazos Yard, its largest capital investment ever

Union Pacific begins work on $550 million Brazos Yard, its largest capital investment ever
World-Herald News Service

Union Pacific, whose deferred tax liabilities fell about $5 billion from the federal tax cut, has started construction on a $550 million rail yard in Texas that is the largest capital investment since its founding in 1862.

It is called the Brazos Yard, and work began this month at the site in Robertson County, Texas, about halfway between Dallas and Houston.

Omaha-based Union Pacific says it will be able to handle about 1,300 railcars a day as a “classification yard … where railcars are separated and sorted by destination before being assembled into new trains headed across the country.”

Union Pacific, with about 8,000 employees in Nebraska, operates 14 yards in its 23-state territory west of the Mississippi, including the vast Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska. That is the largest classification yard in the world, according to U.P., capable of switching 14,000 railcars a day. The company says the new yard in Texas will have no effect on the North Platte yard’s scope of operations or employment.

The Brazos site is where seven Union Pacific rail lines meet, “making it a strategic point for freight rail traffic traveling” to all compass points, including south to Mexico, where U.P. is the only one of the seven Class I U.S. railroads serving all seven train crossings into the country.

“Brazos Yard will support Union Pacific’s customers that represent a wide variety of economic drivers across Texas, including cross-border traffic, petrochemicals, consumer goods and plastics,” U.P. said.

This week, Union Pacific reported fourth-quarter cargo volume that was little changed, amid earnings per share that missed analyst estimates by 1 cent.