With the upcoming Thanksgiving and Day after Thanksgiving holidays, our next Network Update will be delivered on Friday, November 16. We will resume our normal bi-weekly schedule on Friday, November 30.
The operation remains focused on moving our strongest freight volumes of the year. For the eighth straight week, total volume on the railroad exceeded 200,000 units. The previous reporting week (week ending October 27) represented our highest level of the year to date as we moved nearly 216,000 units. Overall car and train velocity were each relatively unchanged versus the prior week while the number of trains held remains elevated.
We experienced two train derailments in separate locations earlier this week on our San Bernardino Subdivision in southern California: one that occurred Wednesday afternoon involving a rail carrier utilizing trackage rights and the other involving a BNSF train during the early morning hours on Thursday. Each incident resulted in track outages for several hours, which affected traffic moving to/from Los Angeles-area facilities.
BNSF has taken actions to alleviate the backlogged traffic resulting from these interruptions. Service on all tracks through each location has been restored, however, we expect inventory challenges to persist at our Los Angeles and San Bernardino hubs while a recovery to normal operations extends to the middle of next week. Customers can help by minimizing destination dwell of shipments notified for pick up. We will continue to update affected customers regarding service conditions in this area.
As many areas of our network experience their first significant winter weather of the season, BNSF has the resources and procedures in place to address the harshest of conditions. Each of BNSF's 10 operating divisions has its own winter action plan focused on three critical areas: safety, service and efficiency. The plans are designed to prepare employees for working safely in extremely cold temperatures, detail the pre-positioning of snow removal equipment and supplies, including emergency generators, and outline procedures for activating Mechanical and Engineering Rapid Responders who are solely devoted to resolving service interruptions.
Our winter procedures also include preparing locomotives and switches for the colder weather to prevent freezing. BNSF installed another 102 switch heaters in key locations this year, bringing the total count to more than 3,000 to ensure remote-controlled rail switches do not freeze. We are also ready to activate round-the-clock command centers with key personnel as necessary to coordinate efforts through major winter storms.
The BNSF network remains in the best condition it has ever been. While unplanned events can always happen, we will go into the 2018-2019 winter season fully equipped and prepared to keep moving your freight reliably and efficiently.
Carryback Policy Reminder
BNSF has experienced significant "carryback": residual coal that remains in the car after it has been unloaded at destination. Frozen carryback, which is usually on one side of the car, impacts the bearings that are part of the car's truck bolster from working as intended and increases the likelihood of a derailment due to improper weight distribution.
As a reminder, under Item 230 of BNSF 6041 Coal Rules and Regulations, shippers are responsible for the complete unloading of coal cars and securing of coal car doors prior to the departure of an empty unit train from its destination. If BNSF discovers carryback in any coal car in the unit train after it has departed destination, and it has created an unsafe operating condition, BNSF may remove the car from the train and will impose applicable charges associated with its removal.
We appreciate your attention to this issue. Please contact the BNSF Coal Team with any questions.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
Major maintenance activity on key subdivisions across our Northern Transcon has concluded. While some locations across our North Region will experience unusually frigid temperatures for early November, no significant service interruptions due to weather are expected during the next several days.
November 11 is recognized as Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in Canada, and we want to acknowledge all those who have served their country in uniform. Nearly 20 percent of BNSF's workforce are veterans. We honor their service, the sacrifices they have made, and we are proud to have them as teammates at BNSF.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending November 8:
Total trains held for the week decreased by more than 11 percent with an average of 113.8 trains held versus 128.0 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the November 2017 average: up by 29.8%
Total trains on the system was down by nearly one percent versus the prior week with an average of 1,591 trains on the system.
Versus the November 2017 average: up by 6.6%
Car velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was down by more than one percent at 204.5 MPD versus 207.3 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the November 2017 average: down by 9.9%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was up by more than one percent versus the prior week at 17.2 MPH.
Versus the November 2017 average: down by 10.3%
Total volume was down by less than one percent from the prior week with 214,301 units moved in Week 44 (ending November 3) versus 215,633 units in Week 43 (ending October 27).
Terminal dwell was down by nearly one percent versus the prior week at 25.6 hours.
Versus the November 2017 average: up by 6.3%
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.