On the Road and Rail: A Business Update from Northern Plains Rail Services
Our Complete Track Works (CTW) group had another busy season, highlighted by the completion of a two-year bridge project in Loveland, CO, which represented a significant step in our growth beyond the traditional upper mid-west market. “Our people have performed safely,” remarked Jerry Hegstrom, Director CTW, “and our management and sales team have done a great job of getting out the large influx of bids that will result in our 2022 programs.”
Quality work is a key feature in the track construction and maintenance business, and while this is a continuous challenge, CTW continues to live by this principle. “Our customers expect us to be competitive, but we always want to leave a job with the feeling that the work was done well in every way,” said Hegstrom.
Projects delivered in 2021 included installation of crossovers at a customer facility on the BNSF Main Line at Wolf Point, MT; upgrading crossings further to the North Dakota State Program on the NPR; construction of 7,000 feet of track and 5 turnouts for a customer at Thief River Falls, MN; building a unique double loop track at a grain-handling facility at Ulen, MN; and improving storm water and drainage facilities, plus upgrading track, at American Crystal Sugar at Drayton, ND.
“All of these projects are in addition to the maintenance work that our customers continue to request and trust CTW with,” said Jesse J. Chalich, NPRS President. “We are very proud of the work of Jerry and the entire CTW team as they continue to grow and serve the needs of our customers.”
Another NPRS business highlight was the commencement of the training process to re-establish our M1002/C6r certification for rail car repair work at our Grand Forks shop. “This certification not only broadens our capabilities at the facility, but allows our Mobile Repair Unit services to be certified as well,” said Rick Spiering of NPRS. “This gives us much more flexibility to perform work at ethanol facilities and refineries on tank cars, and provides the customer with a one-call service for repairs.”
All across the Northern Plains group, there are deserving people that each day could be recognized for their contributions to safety, service, and building a corporate culture that creates an organization where everyone is proud to come to work. “For my part,” says Spiering, “I think that Susan Thompson of our NPRS Rail Car Repair group exemplifies this.” Susan has been with NPRS since February of 2007, and has been recognized by her peers in the past. With her duties of performing car repair estimates, billing, revisions, and invoices, both for the NPRS group and CNPRS in Canada – she is well known to customers and her work is appreciated. Married to Justin for 16 years, they have recently added two new puppies, Durango and Dakota, to the family. “I enjoy the work and the customers, and appreciate all the new opportunities that I learn,” says Susan. “NPRS has been a wonderful place to work.”
Lastly, we can welcome the employees who have joined NPRS as a result of the implementation of a new operations and switching contract for Archer Daniels Midland at Columbus, NE. At this location, located on the Union Pacific west of Omaha, NPRS provides railroad expertise to support in-plant switching to a large ADM processing plant. “For many years we have provided ADM with car repair services, and are now pleased to provide switching as well,” said Jesse J. Chalich, President. “We thank ADM for having faith in us to perform these services, and welcome our new NPRS railroaders to the fold.”