Wednesday, January 21, 2015

100 Truckloads a Day

Great Plains, select Shenandoah tab
The Jan. 18, 2015 issue of Evansville Courier & Press had a Business article on the impact of lower gas prices on the ethanol market by Josh Funk of the Associated Press. (After listing reasons why it could go up and reasons why it could go down, I guess the market is not supposed to change significantly.)

The newspaper had pictures of trucks unloading at the Great Plains Shenandoah, IA, plant. What caught my eye in the article was that they were unloading 100 trucks of corn a day. Is this because they have no rail service? Their web page indicates they have 12000+ feet of paired track.
A satellite image indicates that one track is for unloading corn from covered hoppers and the other is for loading ethanol into tank cars. There were also a lot of tank cars parked on the railroad itself (below).

The railroad serving the plant is a remnant of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad, and it is now owned by the BNSF. Even though it is owned by a Class I railroad, the branch is now more of an industrial spur because many tank cars were parked on the "mainline" in a satellite image. To show all of the cars, I have to use a low resolution so the tank cars are not much more than a "black line" in this image. Note the break in the line at the road so that the crossing is not blocked.

Satellite: tank cars parked on the "mainline"

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