Photo by George Lauby
Rock storage yard, May 21. The yard is now full of piles of rock. Jeffers St. overpass is in the background.
Rock is unloaded by backhoes that stand on top of rail cars.
Trainloads of heavy crushed rock are now arriving in North Platte, to be stored in a new yard on the north side of the tracks, just across the street from one of the town’s favorite bars, The Hub.
Martin Marietta Materials will operate the yard, bringing different types of rock and crushed concrete, mostly from the company’s Granite Canyon Quarry in Wyoming.
The “aggregate” will be stored in North Platte. It can be shipped back out on rail cars or on semi-trucks for construction, paving and roadbed projects.
Granite is primarily used for track bed for Union Pacific.
Customers at the Hub have used part of the property for parking. Ag Valley Coop has used part of the ground for temporary outdoor store grain during harvest season.
New sidewalk and privacy fence were installed along West Eighth around the yard. Inside, the ground was excavated to a depth of 12-18 inches and covered with crushed rock.
The development came fast. A new semi-truck scale was constructed within three weeks, construction manager Tom Doerfler of Salina Scale said.
The first trainload of rock was expected May 22. Trains are unloaded with a backhoe that stands on top of the railcars.
Martin Marietta is the nation’s second largest aggregate producer, district sales manager Matt Cooley said. The company uses its own unit trains, 72 cars long, and can ship 8,000 tons of rock per train.
Martin has a cooperative arrangement with Ag Valley Coop, which leases the ground from Union Pacific.
Under the agreement, Ag Valley will continue to store grain in bins on the property, manager Kent Weems said. Ag Valley also has a locomotive and will use it to move rail cars along the siding track for Martin Marietta.
Weems said Ag Valley will keep using a group of round grain bins as needed during harvest season. An historic wooden grain elevator is also on the property, but was taken out of service 6-7 years ago. Weems said it will eventually be torn down.
At one time, Martin Marietta was primarily known as an aerospace company, but in 1995, Martin Marietta merged with Lockheed Corporation to form Lockheed Martin and the next year Martin Marietta Materials became a separate and independent entity.
First published May 22 in the print edition of the North Platte Bulletin.