Work on tracks

NEW TOWN Construction began Monday at a 192-acre site south of New Town, where double-loop tracks will be built to accommodate 120-car unit trains for crude oil.

The Pioneer Project will be a substantial expansion to the New Town transloading facility. Canadian Pacific Railway serves the facility.

Equipment operators with Veit were working Wednesday to loosen the soil and move dirt to create engineered drainage of some water at the site. Veit is a specialty contracting company with its corporate headquarters in Rogers, Minn., and other offices including in Minot and Bismarck.

“Tomorrow (Thursday) all these guys start,” said Gabe Claypool, indicating equipment, including off-road trucks, on a hill at the site of what is called the Pioneer Project. Crew No. 1, with the off-road trucks, was scheduled to start that day.

“And then Crew No. 2 will probably start within the next week or two,” he said, adding, “In a normal day there will be about 12 pieces of equipment moving around and that’s just the dirtwork side.”

Claypool, president and chief executive officer of Dakota Plains Holdings Inc., in Wayzata, Minn., has been at the New Town site this week.

Earlier this month, Dakota Plains Holdings Inc. and joint-venture partner Petroleum Transport Solutions LLC, with headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minn., jointly announced the $50 million project. It will be the first loop track for Canadian Pacific Railway that serves the area.

Both Gary Brown, senior project engineer for Pinnacle Engineering in Minneapolis, and Claypool, at the earth moving site Wednesday, pointed out that the tracks at the site have to be flat.

After the earth work, John Wadsworth, general contractor who is president of Piping & Equipment Co., Inc., from Wichita, Kan., and his crew will come in.

“There’ll be 100-plus people here at the peak of the project,” Claypool explained.

Many of the people involved in the project have been building similar facilities in North Dakota.

“That was important to us they’ve been in the game,” he said. We put together a team to build this that had history with building them successfully and they know each other,” he said.

Claypool said they’re still working on the number of people who will be employed when the facility opens.

“But probably similar to what we have today,” he said, referring to the existing rail transload facility for crude oil located on the north side of the new project.

“On a daily basis we have two shifts. Each shift is about 10 people from an operations perspective,” Claypool said. “But that doesn’t include the truckers. That’s just the guys that are running, operating maintaining, doing the safety and security side of our facility.”

“Our goal is to get it up and running in the fourth quarter probably December timeframe,” Claypool added.

The expansion will allow four existing 2,500-foot tracks to be used for inbound oil-field commodity supplies, such as sand.