Note: With the upcoming Christmas and New Year's holidays, this is our last network update in 2017. We will continue to update customers throughout the holidays on significant service interruptions or severe winter weather that impacts normal operating conditions. Our next bi-weekly network update will be delivered on January 5, 2018. We wish all of our customers a very safe and happy holiday season.
The operation maintained strong performance this week with good fluidity reported across the network. Average velocity for both cars and trains was down slightly, however, this follows the prior week where each recorded their highest levels of the year to-date. Terminal dwell and the number of trains holding each continue to run significantly below averages from the previous December. Total volume remains robust as BNSF moved more than 200,000 units for the 20th week this year. BNSF also set an all-time record for volume in a single week, with nearly 220,000 units moved during the prior week, November 26 - December 2.
With the new year approaching, BNSF engineering teams are finalizing the details of our 2018 capital plan. As always, the priority is on maintaining the network in optimal condition to support safe operations and efficient train movements. More than $22 billion in capital investments have been made on the BNSF network in the past five years, which includes network maintenance, capacity expansion, equipment and technological improvements. We look forward to sharing the details of our plan early next year.
Get the Latest Ag News in Sam Sexhus' Podcast
In this week's audio podcast, BNSF Group Vice President of Agricultural Products, Sam Sexhus, gives a network update and talks about the latest enhancements to the Certificate of Transportation (COT) online open auction system. He also covers the latest shovel-ready, rail-served Certified Site properties that were recently added to our network in Minot, North Dakota, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Avard, Oklahoma.
Christmas and New Year's Operating Plan
Throughout the Christmas and New Year's holiday period, BNSF will remain focused on keeping the grain network performing to meet demand. BNSF will observe the Christmas holiday on Sunday, December 24 and Monday, December 25. With Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day as shuttle holidays, impacted customers may request to move official spot times.
Customers with empty trains arriving at the loading facility after 6 a.m. Sunday, December 24, may elect to move their official spot time to 6 a.m. Tuesday, December 26. During this time frame, trains may be loaded if desired.
Customers with loaded trains arriving at an unload facility after 6 a.m. Sunday, December 24, may elect to move their official spot time to 6 a.m. Tuesday, December 26. During this time frame, trains may be unloaded if desired.
New Year's Holiday:
Customers with empty trains arriving at the loading facility after 6 a.m. Sunday, December 31, may elect to move their official spot time to 6 a.m. Tuesday, January 2. During this time frame, trains may be loaded if desired.
Customers with loaded trains arriving at an unload facility after 6 a.m. Sunday, December 31, may elect to move their official spot time to 6 a.m. Tuesday, January 2. During this time frame, trains may be unloaded if desired.
Whether empty or loaded, customers who elect to move their spot time must contact BNSF Grain Operations at least eight hours in advance and advise of their intentions for train, power and crew planning purposes.
There are no allowances beyond the time frames specified. Origination Efficiency Payment (OEP) or Destination Efficiency Payment (DEP) will be lost if customer(s) elect to operate outside of these allowances.
Carload service will not be curtailed due to the holidays, however, BNSF plans to minimize the number of yard, local and road-switch assignments at terminals on Christmas Day, December 25, and New Year's Day, January 1, if specifically advised by customers that service will not be needed. Connecting carriers who have reduced operations for the holidays may cause delays on interline traffic.
Customer Support will maintain a limited staff on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve until 6 p.m. CT. Standard coverage will resume at 6 a.m. CT on the Tuesday following each holiday.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
Favorable operating conditions are expected during the next several days. While winter officially begins next Thursday, locations throughout the BNSF network will continue to experience relatively mild, dry weather for late December.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending December 14:
Total trains held for the week increased by nearly 68 percent with an average 70.3 trains held versus 41.9 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the December 2016 average: down by 27.2%
Total trains on the system increased by nearly one percent versus the prior week with an average of 1,512 trains on the system.
Versus the December 2016 average: up by 8.9%
Locomotive velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was 294.0, which is essentially unchanged from the 294.4 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the December 2016 average: up by 0.5%
Car velocity was down by more than two percent at 235.0 MPD versus 240.8 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the December 2016 average: up by 9.4%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was down by nearly two percent versus the prior week at 19.7 MPH.
Versus the December 2016 average: up by 4.9%
Total volume was down by more than three percent from the prior week with 212,680 units moved in Week 49 (ending December 9) versus 219,563 units in Week 48 (ending December 2).
Terminal dwell increased by nearly four percent versus the prior week at 23.4 hours.
Versus the December 2016 average: down by 11.9%
As always, we thank you for your business and appreciate the opportunity to serve as your transportation service provider. We welcome your feedback and questions.