111 railroad crossings to be upgraded from KC to Topeka

Talk about workin' on the railroad.

A railroad gang is bringing the words of that old American folk song to life in a nearly $8 million track improvement project in northeast Kansas. Union Pacific Railroad is spending the money to maintain and strengthen tracks and crossings.

Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis says the railroad's "tie gang" consists of about 50 workers. The crews are removing and installing about 45,000 ties, spreading 39,000 tons of rock ballast to stabilize roadbed and replacing road surfaces at 111 crossings.

Work started May 1, and is moving west out of Kansas City, Mo., to Topeka. The railroad expects to complete the project by mid-June.

The Kansas plan is part of the $1.6 billion Union Pacific is spending this year to maintain track in its more than 32,000-mile system.