In an effort to learn more about how the railroad industry impacts Iowans, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, went for a ride on a Union Pacific Friday.
Braley took the train from Cedar Rapids to Marshalltown and learned about the operation and was surprised how many things run in unison as part of the train moving.
"This makes it alive and real," he said.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, left, talks with Bob Perkins of Union Pacific Friday in Marshalltown. Braley rode the train with Perkins from Cedar Rapids to learn more about the railroad industry.
Brenda Mainwaring, director of public affairs with Union Pacific, met Braley when the train stopped in Marshalltown. She said this was a way for her company to talk about the infrastructure they have invested in through the years.
"We wanted him to have a better understanding of our connection to Iowa," Mainwaring said.
The train Braley took was carrying consumer goods and was on its way from Chicago to Los Angeles.
"We have rail issues that come up every year in Congress," Braley said.
Braley said he learned how the rail industry adjusts to technology, impacts the area financially and provides energy supplies- which was particularly evident when he passed the Alliant power plant and saw the car loads of coal.
"It's a snapshot of why we have to continue to invest in infrastructure," Braley said.
Mainwaring said Union Pacific has spent $175 million in infrastructure on the line from Cedar Rapids to Marshalltown in the last five years. Marshalltown alone has 58 UP employees with a payroll of $4.5 million.
Aside from his work in Congress, Braley, from Waterloo, is running for re-elected in the 1st District, which includes Marshalltown, in the fall. He is running against Republican Ben Lange, an attorney from Independence, on Nov. 6.
"I've always believed that doing my job is the best way to get elected," Braley said.