U.S. Railroads Promise New Investment and New Jobs for 2012

Railroads in the U.S. own their own infrastructure, and they intend to repair and upgrade it at a record level – some $13 billion – during this year, with a major portion done in the freight corridor from seaports in Southern California to Texas and the Southwest. Additionally, 15,000 workers will be hired, according to the Association of American Railroads; these will be both new jobs, and to replace retiring workers.

Infrastructure investment will include new track, bridges and tunnels, modernization of safety equipment, intermodal terminals, and new locomotives and rail cars; this according to the AAR. A large player will be the 32,000 mile Union Pacific, with a planned capital budget for 2012 of $3.6 billion, as told by the company’s executive VP for operations, Lance M. Fritz.

Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP), based in Omaha, is one of two transcontinental rail lines that connect with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together comprise the world’s sixth-busiest harbor. The section is called the Sunset Corridor, and a 760-mile section is set to be double tracked this year, which on completion will speed up service between the ports and the Southwest.

New jobs created by the railroads are very high paying. The AAR estimates that salaries can average about $100,000 per year, and include such work as IT, engineers and dispatchers, industrial development and law enforcement. There will, of course, be a multiplier effect, resulting in a large boost to income in the affected areas.

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