Union Pacific begins upgrade of Oregon gorge rail line

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Union Pacific Railroad has started a $13.2 million upgrade of its rail line on the Oregon side of the Columbia River between Troutdale and The Dalles, the railroad said Thursday. The project began Jan. 7 and is set to end in April.

The railroad said it will replace nearly 91,000 railroad ties, install more than 30,000 tons of rock ballast and replace five switches. In addition, crews will renew the surfaces at 32 road crossings.

The project is one of nearly 1,500 being undertaken this year on the railroad's 32,000-mile network. The projects are intended to help improve train operating efficiency, reduce motorist wait times at crossings and enhance safety, Union Pacific said.