Connector Line Opens in Wyoming
Burlington Northern Railroad and Chicago & North Western Railroad became interested in developing Wyoming's coal fields in the early 1970s following the first Arab oil embargo. Through an initiative code-named Project Yellow, UP helped underwrite C&NW's Connector Line into the Powder River Basin (PRB) with more than $325 million. Construction began in 1983. C&NW's first PRB coal train moved on Aug. 16, 1984, from the North Antelope Coal Mine to Newark, Ark. During the line's first full year of operation in 1985, 19 million tons were hauled out of the PRB — almost five trains per day. By 1995, 23 trains per day left the basin, and average train size had grown to almost 12,000 tons. Today, UP averages about 30 trains per day and average train size is nearly 15,700 tons.