Final installment of hopper cars delivered

    The final installment of 2,750 hopper cars has arrived at the 265-acre Sweeny/Old Ocean Facilities Storage-In-Transit (SIT) Yard, ready to transport the millions of tons of polyethylene product that will be produced each year following the startup of the U.S. Gulf Coast Petrochemicals Project (USGC PP).
    “These cars are the largest in Chevron Phillips Chemical’s entire fleet and will carry product from our manufacturing plants to our customers throughout North America,” said Susan Cox, Rail Services manager. “They also will travel to transloading and packaging facilities along the coasts, where product will be placed in smaller containers to be shipped all over the world.”
    The steel railroad cars were designed and built to our specifications, according to Tommy Cook, superintendent of rail fleet maintenance.
    “We had exacting requirements, including specialized exterior paint, interior linings and outlet valves, all designed to deliver our product to customers in the same high-quality condition it was in when it left the manufacturing plant,” Cook said. “The features include heavy-duty, long-lasting interior linings and exterior paint that are the best on the market.”
    Constructed by American Rail Car at its manufacturing facility in Paragould, Arkansas, the hopper cars were the largest shipper pellet car order ever for the 118-year-old company. The company built approximately 100 cars per month and delivered 600 cars in 2014, 600 in 2015, 1,200 in 2016 and 350 in 2017.
    Learn how hopper cars are built in this video.
    When they are not on the road, the cars will be based at the state-of-the-art SIT Yard, which is the fourth built by the company and the first to feature an area for inspection of inbound empty hopper cars, a washing facility and a repair shop.
    “Our SIT Yard was specially designed to allow us to perform key services on the cars right on the property,” said Jill Hodges, Rail Operations manager. “Having these processes within the SIT yard will allow for extremely efficient rail operations at the facility.”
    The fleet of cars will move an unprecedented amount of product to meet the growing global demand for polyethylene products. Each hopper car is expected to make at least four trips per year, transporting 200,000 pounds of product per trip, for about 2.2 billion pounds of product delivered annually. A train holding one year of production would be 11,000 cars long, stretching 140 miles.
    “Our Rail Operations Team has completed an incredible amount of work and planning over four years to ensure that the cars were built to specification and delivered exactly on schedule for the USGC project,” Cook said. “We are excited about the completion and delivery of the cars, which will take our ability to move product worldwide to an entirely new level.”
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