A look at the busy frac sand railroads and sand mining operations in Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley. The Wisconsin Northern Railroad serves five frac sand mines and processing plants that are located along their 37.5 miles of mainline track. Each day the WNR sets out empties, works the plants and delivers their long trains of sand hoppers to the Norma Yard in Chippewa Falls where this traffic is interchanged with the Union Pacific. The UP is shown transporting these sand trains along their 18 mile route to the Altoona Yard near Eau Claire.
We also tag along on a fascinating visit to Superior Silica Sands at New Auburn, Wisconsin for a tour of their open pit sand mine, wet plant and dry plant. This segment includes: excavating raw sand in the pit, mine haul trucks to the impactor, the wet plant for washing and stockpiling the clean sand and dump truck loading for transport to the dry plant. This processing facility includes the drying and screening of the various product sizes. Also a look at Superior Silica Sands rail yard with great switching action and sand car loading. Frac Sand is used by the oil and natural gas industry in the drilling and hydrofracking of their deep horizontal wells.