YODER – Bob Dietzler’s Wyoming Connect Railroad is bringing storage and transportation opportunities to this small community and the rest of Goshen County.
Dietzler moved to Yoder from Chicago about six years ago, on the hunt for a project to invest in. He started working on the rail yard and spur line on the north side of town, which blossomed this year with the announcement Tulsa-based pipeline company ONEOK would be building a second line through portions of Goshen County.
The Elk Creek Project will parallel portions of the company’s current Bakken Pipeline in eastern Goshen County. Some on-the-ground work on the pipeline has begun with completion projected and the pipeline operational by the end of 2019.
After the next train arrives, there will be about 45 miles worth of pipe at the Wyoming Connect Railroad yard here, destined for the Elk Creek pipeline.
“The rail cars, the full ones carry 33 lengths of pipe per car, but some come in short with less stacked on the cars,” Dietzler said. “I don’t know if is caused by loads shifting along the way or if they have to unload some of them onto another railcar. The full cars have 33 lengths and others may only have 20 lengths of pipe.”
When the final load arrives, 300 to 400 miles of 20-inch diameter pipe will be unloaded in Yoder.
This is the largest pipe storage on the pipeline route.
The pipeline stretches over 900 miles and will be used to carry liquid natural gas from ONEOK’s Riverview terminal in eastern Montana to Bushton, Kan. The pipe is coming from Arkansas by rail on Union Pacific Railroad and can take as long as of two weeks to arrive in Yoder.
Typically, each train will be 40 cars long with 18 to 20 trains coming directly from the mill in Arkansas. Three trains have already arrived and been unloaded at the Wyoming Connect yard.
Receiving and storing pipe for the pipeline isn’t the only thing Dietzler and the Wyoming Connect Railroad do. He has his fingers in a variety of pots, bringing another shipping and transportation option to central Goshen County.
“I’m just the railroad,” Dietzler said. “I’m the one with Connect Railroad. I have grain elevators, putting grain on the rail and shipping it out.
“I have also expanded this year,” he said. “With one new spur and a ladder track off of the spur, I have other stuff going on coming into the rail yard, negotiating with people to bring in more business.”
Dietzler is looking for local businesses with a need for shipping by rail. He believes his first job, though, will be educating the community about what services he can offer.