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CONTAINERS BACKHAUL MORE EXPORT GRAIN TO ASIA EACH YEAR IN THIS EMERGING TREND


Containers in BY HOWARD ANDE/PHOTOS BY THE AUTHOR


THE CHICAGO & NORTH WESTERN was known as a “granger” railroad — the main traffic base consisted of farm and agricultural related products. The up- per Midwest is the largest corn and soy- bean producing region in the world, and Illinois is the top producer of soy- beans and the number two producer of corn in the United States. The C&NW carried a good deal of the yield from the fields to market. The year 1995 saw the C&NW merged into the Union Pacific. This merger process started in earnest in 1989 when UP acquired a 25 per cent stake in C&NW. In 1994 UP acquired minority control of C&NW then acquired it outright in 1995 for


26 APRIL 2012 • RAILFAN.COM


$1.1 billion.The Union Pacific carries a lot of agricultural related products as well. In fact grain accounts for about nine per cent of UP’s total traffic annu- ally. In 2008 whole grain shipments ac- counted for 39 per cent of total agricul- tural revenues which was 18 per cent of total freight revenue. Corn and soybean fields surround


Union Pacific’s big 1200 acre Global-3 intermodal facility that was completed in 2003. Global-3 stretches about four miles (counting lead tracks) from the western edge of Rochelle, Illinois, out to the tiny farming community of Flagg, whose main feature is the large Consol- idated Grain & Barge Terminal.


Rochelle, known as the “Hub City,” is both a railroad and interstate highway crossroads. BNSF’s Aurora Subdivision crosses the Geneva Subdivision of UP (on which Global-3 is located) and In- terstate 88 crosses north/south running I-39 as well. Historically, the Lincoln Highway (now Illinois Highway 38), which crossed the country from east to west between New York City and San Francisco, met U.S. Highway 51 (of Bob Dylan song fame), a major pre-inter- state north to south road running from Hurley, Wisc., to Laplace, La. These present day secondary roads still play a major role in local transportation. All this makes Global-3 a very accessible


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