Union Pacific Railroad officially opened a 785-acre intermodal terminal at Joliet, Ill., expanding its international and domestic container capacity and improving rail traffic efficiencies throughout the Chicago region.

Officials and customers gathered to celebrate the opening of $370 million facility located approximately 5 miles south of I-80 and 7 miles east of I-55. The terminal is designed to handle an annual capacity of 500,000 over-the-road trailers or ocean-going containers. The new facility is the second only to Union Pacific's intermodal terminal in Long Beach, with an annual capacity of 700,000 trailers or containers. based on capacity.

"Our $370 million private investment for this intermodal terminal will greatly enhance our ability to serve customers and the community. The advanced computers and technology used here coordinate all movements in the terminal, improving productivity and performance while reducing emissions," said Jim Young, Union Pacific chairman and CEO.

There has been substantial growth in intermodal traffic, particularly in the Chicago area, during the last decade, and Union Pacific's new Joliet Intermodal Terminal is designed to handle an annual capacity of 500,000 over-the-road trailers or ocean-going containers. This capacity allows Union Pacific to continue to pursue opportunities in this growing rail-truck market. The new facility has additional space for future expansion based on customer demand and capacity needs.

Phase One of the Joliet Intermodal Terminal project features many advantages for Union Pacific customers, including:

* Four 8,000-foot tracks with capacity to handle the loading or unloading of 104 intermodal "double-stack" rail cars.

* Six 8,000-foot tracks to give train crews the ability to sort rail cars by destination.

* An additional six tracks to stage rail cars prior to unloading or loading.

* Four cranes that straddle the rail cars and one rubber-tired mobile "packer" that lifts trailers and containers on and off rail cars. The cranes are equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, increasing loading and unloading efficiencies.

* More than 4,000 "staging," or parking places, for trailers and containers.

* Advanced technology that coordinates all movement of rail cars, trucks and trailers and containers at the facility will decrease truck processing time at the terminal's entrance from four minutes to as little as 30 to 90 seconds, resulting in reduced fuel use and emissions.

More info: www.up.com.