Union Pacific ships the longest wind turbine blades by rail in US history

Union Pacific ships the longest wind turbine blades by rail in US history
© Union Pacific

A single blade has a length of over 80 meters, over 48% longer than usual blades.

Union Pacific has achieved a new milestone in transporting wind turbine components by successfully shipping the longest wind turbine blades ever carried across major rail service networks in the United States. The blades, part of Vestas' V163-4.5 MW wind turbines, measure 80 meters in length, nearly as long as a football field.

This logistical feat was the culmination of over two years of planning that began in 2022 when Vestas introduced its new high-capacity wind turbine model. The blades embarked on a seven-day rail journey from Colorado to the Port of Brownsville, Texas, traversing two shortline railroads and using 72 rail cars in the process. For comparison, the typical blade length transported by Union Pacific is 54 meters.

The transport of such oversized cargo required meticulous planning and close coordination among various Union Pacific departments. The company's clearances team was tasked with assessing and ensuring a safe travel route for the blades, carefully reviewing multiple routes to identify any potential obstacles such as bridges, overpasses, and signals. Additionally, terrain considerations were evaluated to ensure a smooth transit. Union Pacific's Shipment Quality team also collaborated with Vestas to ensure the blades were securely fastened in compliance with standards set by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Union Pacific has a long history of transporting wind components, having been the first to ship them via rail nearly two decades ago. The company also pioneered the design of specialized flat cars for wind components. With the ongoing growth in the wind energy sector, and as renewable energy demand continues to rise, Union Pacific is well-prepared to handle future transports. In 2023, wind and solar energy were significant contributors to the U.S. power grid, sufficient to meet the energy needs of 61 million American households, with expectations for continued expansion in renewable energy production.

Join Our Circle of Insiders: Receive the Weekly Digest That Keeps You Ahead!

Not using RAILVIS Platform yet?

Rent a wagon, sell a locomotive, find a container, convert free capacity to profit. The RAILVIS Platform is the tool you need. It's faster, better organized, and more secure than email or phone calls.

Try RAILVIS Railway Marketplace
RAILVIS screenshot