BNSF operating teams are moving strong volumes while confronting challenging winter conditions in some areas of the network. Another significant winter storm last weekend brought high winds and heavy snow to a broad area of the central Plains and into portions of the Chicago area. Some locations, including St. Louis and Kansas City, received several inches to nearly a foot of snow. Crews worked aggressively to clear block track segments and service has since normalized through the region.
Total weekly volume moved by the railroad exceeded the robust 200,000-unit level and marked the highest level for the second week of January since 2007. Overall car and train velocity were each relatively unchanged. While increasing by several trains versus the previous week, the number of total trains held has been reduced significantly from the holiday period and running below the average from the previous January.
More than 30 capital gangs will re-deploy around the network next week, particularly in our South Region, to begin various 2019 track maintenance projects. This critical work to keep our infrastructure in optimal condition can cause some train delays during the scheduled windows when teams are active. As always, our operating teams will work to minimize any significant service disruptions due to this activity as much as possible.
New Quarterly Agricultural Update Video Coming in April
We are transitioning to a new format in how we deliver the latest agricultural news from BNSF Group Vice President of Agricultural Products, Sam Sexhus. Rather than an audio podcast, agricultural customers will receive a quarterly video via email that will provide an update on the railroad and our agricultural business. Look for the first video in April. Additionally, you will continue to receive the bi-weekly update in this written format.
BNSF Designates Two New Certified Sites
Two new industrial locations were recognized this week with BNSF's Certified Sites designation. These new Certified Sites are located in Galesburg, Illinois, and Clovis, New Mexico.
Certified Sites are a part of BNSF's Premier Parks, Sites and Transload program. The program is a strategic approach that addresses the increasing demand for customer site locations by developing various types of facilities across BNSF's network. Sites must undergo a thorough analysis, which includes an evaluation of environmental and geotechnical standards, available utilities, site availability and existing and projected infrastructure to be considered for the designation. Businesses looking to locate at any of these rail-served properties can save six to nine months of construction time as a result of this analysis. Details on all 18 BNSF Certified Sites are available at BNSF.com/rail-development.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
Another major winter storm is poised to impact much of Iowa, northern Missouri and northern Illinois, including the Chicago area, tonight and through the weekend. Winter storm warnings are currently in effect throughout this region as blizzard conditions and nearly a foot of snow is expected in some locations.
BNSF has established a 24/7 command center to manage any service issues due to this storm. As part of our Winter Action Plan, we have prepared response teams and have additional resources called up and ready to deploy if necessary.
Much of this area, as well as locations along our Northern Transcon route east of the Rockies, will experience frigid temperatures into the start of next week. Favorable operating conditions are expected in other areas of the BNSF network.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending January 17:
Total trains held for the week increased by nearly eight percent with an average of 76.4 trains held versus 71.0 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the January 2018 average: down by 16.1%
Total trains on the system was up by more than three percent versus the prior week with an average of 1,479 trains on the system.
Versus the January 2018 average: up by 4.5%
Car velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was up by more than one percent at 212.0 MPD versus 209.6 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the January 2018 average: down by 5.6%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was essentially unchanged versus the prior week at 18.4 MPH.
Versus the January 2018 average: down by 5.4%
Total volume was up by more than 23 percent from the prior week with 208,331 units moved in Week 2 (ending January 12) versus 169,064 units in Week 1 (ending January 5, which includes the New Year's holiday).
Terminal dwell increased by nearly five percent versus the prior week at 25.2 hours.
Versus the January 2018 average: up by 0.5%
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.