BNSF operating teams continue moving strong volumes on the network. For the third consecutive week and the 23rd week in 2018, total weekly volume on the railroad surpassed the robust 200,000-unit level. Average velocity for all cars and trains remains consistent with levels reported in previous weeks. The number of trains held as well as terminal dwell continue to run at elevated levels versus the previous August. With heavy traffic in key corridors and a high number of trains operating on the system, we are addressing congestion in some locations of the network, particularly the Ft. Worth, Texas complex. BNSF teams have implemented procedures to improve traffic flows through this area, including the re-routing of some trains, to reduce delays.
As we reported to impacted customers, we experienced a grain train derailment yesterday afternoon at Cut Bank, Montana, approximately halfway between Whitefish and Havre. BNSF crews restored service to the main line this morning and traffic is moving again through this location, however, some customers with shipments moving through this area may experience delays as train flows normalize through the weekend.
With approximately 1,600 trains operating on the system each day, maintaining sufficient crew resources in some areas has been an ongoing challenge. BNSF is currently training multiple groups of new crew members for deployment each month in nearly of all our operating divisions. As they become more available into the fall, we expect the additional personnel to help generate improved efficiency and fewer train delays on the network.
Southern Transcon - Amarillo Fourth Main Track Project Update
Three major capital expansion projects on our Southern Transcon from southern California to the Texas Panhandle remain on schedule for completion this year. As we have reported, one of the projects involves adding a fourth main track along nearly five miles of our Hereford Subdivision through Amarillo. This short video highlights all of the projects and the benefits they will provide to traffic flows on the Transcon.
With work finishing up on the Amarillo project, only four scheduled work windows remain prior to the additional track being placed into service next month. While the first three 14-hour windows will take place on the final Tuesdays in August, the final 32-hour window on Tuesday, aligned with the Labor Day holiday, will require the suspension of train service through this location. BNSF operating teams are working to alleviate this disruption as much as possible, which includes the re-routing of some trains, and will continue to update impacted customers regarding the final phase of this key project.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
Favorable operating conditions are expected across much of the network during the next several days. With continued hot, dry weather expected in the West, BNSF crews continue to monitor the wildfire threat in several areas, particularly along the Oregon Trunk Subdivision, our north-south main line route through central Oregon. Some trains have experienced delays as wildfire activity in this area has periodically threatened our main line right-of-way in recent weeks.
Network maintenance and expansion activity will continue across portions of our primary Northern Transcon route between Montana and the West Coast, which may cause some train delays during scheduled work windows.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending August 2:
Total trains held for the week decreased by more than six percent with an average of 110.3 trains held versus 117.6 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the August 2017 average: up by 63.1%
Total trains on the system was up by nearly three percent versus the prior week with an average of 1,643 trains on the system.
Versus the August 2017 average: up by 14.1%
Car velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was down by nearly one percent at 205.2 MPD versus 206.8 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the August 2017 average: down by 7.1%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was up by more than one percent versus the prior week at 17.3 MPH.
Versus the August 2017 average: down by 8.7%
Total volume was up by less than one percent from the prior week with 208,618 units moved in Week 30 (ending July 28) versus 207,884 units in Week 29 (ending July 21).
Terminal dwell was essentially unchanged versus the prior week at 26.1 hours.
Versus the August 2017 average: up by 7.8%
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.