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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District

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Syracuse rail partnership reaches milestone

August 17, 2020 | Jason Kuiper | commercial and industrial, customers, economic development
A train carrying grain moves through the Frontier Co-Op facility in Syracuse, Neb., rail partnership

Earlier this month Frontier Cooperative saw its 100th shuttle train come through its facility on OPPD’s Arbor Line.

A partnership with the business, Union Pacific and OPPD made the milestone possible.

The Arbor Line is a 54.6-mile line that runs between Lincoln and Nebraska City. OPPD opened it up and helped construct connection to Frontier to better serve the community.

The 100th train consisted of 105 cars, each holding about 4,000 bushels of corn. Corn from the facility has gone out across the country. The historic train’s destination was an ethanol plant in Kansas. A majority of the grain that leaves the Syracuse facility goes to California and Mexico.

Frontier Cooperative CEO Jeremy Wilhelm said it was great to see something go from concept to implementation that has had such a positive impact on the local community.

“This impact will be here for 40 to 50 years down the road for the next generations to enjoy, said Wilhelm. “Not only has this facility provided good jobs for the community of Syracuse, it has opened up access to markets that the surrounding areas did not have before, which also means a more competitive basis for our farmers to enjoy for many years to come.”

C&I_Arbor Line 100th_Brook and Jeremy Wilhem
Brook Aken, left, and Jeremy Wilhelm. Credit: Larry Larson

Example of partnership

Brook Aken, manager of economic development OPPD, said it has been exciting to see how the line has spurred growth and development for communities OPPD serves. She said the utility also plans on using that rail access for a nearby site.

“It’s been a great partnership, and we’re hoping to gain other partners with future economic development,” Aken said.

Prior to the rail shuttle facility’s construction, the bushels were trucked to other locations such as ethanol or processing plants. The Syracuse facility created more options and opened new markets.

The Frontier Syracuse facility holds 3 million bushels of grains storage. They will add 1 million bushels of storage this fall.

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About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

View all posts by Jason Kuiper >

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