The operation remains focused on matching resources to the robust freight volumes on the network. For the fourth straight week, total volume moved by the railroad exceeded 210,000 units. Key operational performance metrics, including average car/train velocity and terminal dwell, were all relatively unchanged versus the prior week. We have also experienced some congestion involving manifest traffic at our Tulsa, Memphis and Minneapolis (Northtown) terminals this week. BNSF operating teams are working together in an ongoing effort to improve train flows in and out of these busy facilities.
With heavy rainfall received during the past week, the Mississippi River is at or near flood stage in southeastern Iowa and Missouri. Our Hannibal Subdivision, which runs adjacent to the Mississippi between the Iowa/Missouri border and St. Louis, is currently out of service in two locations due to flood gate closures. The River Subdivision, which runs south from St. Louis along the river, is also expected to go out of service early next week at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. With these outages expected to remain in place for an extended period, BNSF operating teams have implemented temporary service plans, including the re-routing of some trains, to minimize disruption.
Customers with shipments destined for locations in the Florida Panhandle and parts of southern Georgia should expect continued delays as the area recovers from Hurricane Michael. BNSF is working with eastern carriers regarding embargoes that have been issued as well as managing interchange traffic holding at various facilities.
Get the Latest Agricultural News in Sam Sexhus' Podcast
In this week's audio podcast, BNSF Group Vice President of Agricultural Products, Sam Sexhus, provides a network update, including the latest information on shuttle turns-per-month (TPM) and velocity in miles-per-day (MPD). In addition, he discusses the upcoming shuttle auction dates for this month on October 17 and 24.
Also, due to congestion at our El Paso and Eagle Pass, TX interchanges with FXE, a permit embargo remains in effect for all grain, dried distillers grain (DDG), wheat, soybean, soybean meal, corn, and corn syrup shipments destined to the FXE at these locations. For more information regarding the permit embargo, please visit the Agricultural Customer Service Advisory Notification section on BNSF.com.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
Most of the BNSF network will experience favorable operating conditions during the upcoming week, however, the first significant winter weather of the season is expected across parts of southern Colorado, northern New Mexico and into the Texas Panhandle this weekend. Some locations could receive several inches of snow along with below freezing temperatures. As always, each BNSF operating division has a winter action plan ready to implement if necessary to mitigate impacts from severe weather.
Maintenance work continues in multiple areas of the network, with significant activity on the Hi Line Subdivision between Whitefish and Havre, Montana as well as our Cherokee Subdivision, which runs between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Springfield, Missouri. Delays for some trains through these areas are possible during scheduled daily work windows.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending October 11:
Total trains held for the week increased by two percent with an average of 121.3 trains held versus 118.9 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the October 2017 average: up by 62.8%
Total trains on the system was up by one percent versus the prior week with an average of 1,634 trains on the system.
Versus the October 2017 average: up by 12.0%
Car velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was essentially unchanged at 206.1 MPD versus 205.9 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the October 2017 average: down by 6.5%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was down by nearly one percent versus the prior week at 17.1 MPH.
Versus the October 2017 average: down by 7.8%
Total volume was down by more than one percent from the prior week with 210,973 units moved in Week 40 (ending October 6) versus 213,524 units in Week 39 (ending September 29).
Terminal dwell was essentially unchanged versus the prior week at 25.9 hours.
Versus the October 2017 average: up by 2.5%
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.