Union Pacific Corp. reported some improvement in its rail system over the last two weeks, particularly in Southern California, even as the number of rail cars on its crowded lines rose. The Dallas-based railroad, plagued by congestion on its 36,000-mile system over the last year, said in a report to the federal Surface Transportation Board that the number of delayed trains fell 9% to 219. Rail car inventory rose 0.5% to 339,979 between Aug. 28 and Friday. The mixed results, due in part to a planned company slowdown over the Labor Day weekend, reflect the railroad's gradual recovery from the rail logjam that started in the Houston area, moved to the Midwest and most recently turned up in Southern California. "Over the Labor Day weekend, and through this weekend, [Union Pacific] had no difficulty clearing all containers awaiting movement out of Southern California," Union Pacific's report said. In a separate development, the railroad hired industry outsider Ike Evans as president and chief operating officer. Shares rose 56 cents to close at $40.13 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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