Two months after what has been called one of the worst floods to strike the Midwest and Central Plains since 1993, communities are still picking up the pieces and, in some places, waiting for the waters to recede. Thanks to Union Pacific’s extraordinary efforts to reopen railroad service in the aftermath of spring 2019 flooding, many railroad customers have returned to normal operations.
Running what essentially is a factory without a roof means regularly working through extreme weather events, but this storm’s impact to Union Pacific’s operations was historic. The railroad took an extremely aggressive approach to overcoming the hand Mother Nature played by bringing in additional employees to maintain 24/7 reconstruction operations, and tapping its surge capacity of locomotives to ensure power was available to keep trains moving. Union Pacific invested approximately $70 million in the recovery effort
“The impact was more significant than even the great flood of 1993,” said Eric Gehringer, Union Pacific’s vice president – engineering. “The combination of large rainfall on top of snow, which was on top of frozen ground, was unprecedented in terms of much of our railroad was washed out or otherwise affected.”