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Union Pacific is replacing rails

A Union Pacific worker stands by to stop traffic when needed at the County Road A crossing near the Gartner Studios distribution center on Baer Drive. Two co-workers are leveling a section of newly placed rail. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)1 / 5
Union Pacific worker make adjustments to newly laid rail at the County Road A crossing east of the city of Hudson.2 / 5
Union Pacific worker Jake Hobson stands ready to stop traffic on Second Street while a railroad machine passes by on the bridge above.3 / 5
Union Pacific workers were brought to the job site by the busload. A railroad employee said 110 were working in the Hudson area Wednesday, Oct. 9.4 / 5
Union Pacific workers parked their vehicles on the USA Fence Co. property on County Road A at Sherman Road on Wednesday, Oct. 9.5 / 5

Motorists have noticed the presence of Union Pacific Railroad workers at street crossings in the Hudson area over the past couple of weeks.

The workers are replacing the rails on the double track that runs through the city and the town of Hudson.

Wednesday morning, Oct. 9, Union Pacific worker Carlos Andrews of Lawrence, Kan., said a crew of 110 fellow employees was in Hudson that day. Two Union Pacific buses (converted school buses) used to take workers to the job site were parked nearby. Meanwhile, the railroad had arranged to allow other workers to park on the USA Fence Co. property on the other side of County A.

Andrews was guarding equipment on the spur line leading to the Gartner Studios distribution center (formerly Duro Bag) at the east end of Baer Drive.

A work crew was nearby at the County Road A crossing, leveling a section of rail that had just been laid.

Andrews said he expected the large work force to finish laying rail in Hudson on Wednesday, and move into Minnesota.

He said the crew has been replacing rail on the Union Pacific line in various spots in Wisconsin, beginning in the south and working its way north and west. He said 20 to 30 miles of rail are usually replaced in the different spots.

The crew had earlier been in Black River Falls, Andrews said.

Jake Hobson, a Union Pacific worker from Eau Claire, was one of two men on duty beneath the Second Street railroad bridge Wednesday morning. He and his co-worker’s job was to stop traffic when a railroad machine passed above dropping ballast.

Hobson said that the machine would occasionally throw a rock farther than needed, and the railroad didn’t want it hitting a vehicle below.

Machines were removing the old rails and replacing them with new rails. After the new rail is in place, another machine comes along and adds rock ballast where it is needed.

The railroad ties were left in place.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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