BNSF operating teams have confronted multiple service challenges while continuing to move strong freight volumes on the network. Total volume moved by the railroad exceeded the robust 200,000-unit level for the seventh straight week. Overall car and train velocity were each relatively unchanged versus the prior week while the number of trains held remains elevated and significantly above previous August levels.
We experienced a train derailment on August 21 on our Cajon Subdivision in San Bernardino, which caused some significant train delays through southern California during the previous week. Train flows through the area have since normalized, however, we continue to address ongoing congestion at some facilities in the region.
As we reported, heavy rain in Wisconsin Monday night and into Tuesday caused multiple washouts on our busy Aurora Subdivision southeast of La Crosse. Some trains were re-routed or detoured around the affected area as the double-track outage significantly impacted traffic flows between the Twin Cities and Chicago. As crews quickly shored up flooded locations and completed repairs, one track returned to service yesterday morning and the other main line reopened in the early morning hours today. While service through the area has been restored, we are monitoring the potential for more severe weather and additional rainfall in this area tonight and through the weekend.
BNSF crews have nearly finished work on our fourth main track expansion project in Amarillo. With the upcoming Labor Day holiday, the final 32-hour major work window is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 4. Crews will complete the final track cutover, which impacts service on all four main lines during this window. Our operating teams will implement procedures, including some train consolidations, to minimize this disruption as much as possible.
Intermodal Labor Day Holiday Operating Plan
BNSF will continue to operate Intermodal trains over the Labor Day, September 3, holiday. However, due to lighter volumes of traffic and possible train consolidations, we anticipate that outbound and inbound shipments from Saturday, September 1 through noon on Tuesday, September 4 may experience delays of up to 24 hours. All BNSF intermodal facilities will operate normal working hours during the holiday period.
Connecting carriers who have reduced operations for the holiday may cause delays on interline traffic. Customer Support will maintain a limited staff on Labor Day. Standard coverage will resume on Tuesday, September 4.
We also want to re-emphasize the importance of working together to reduce the amount of time that your container/trailer dwells at a BNSF facility, which will improve overall traffic flow and lift capabilities to support growth. As a reminder, BNSF offers multiple ways to track shipments: click here for more information on the tools available.
Automotive Labor Day Holiday Operating Plan
BNSF will continue to operate automotive trains over the Labor Day, September 3, holiday, and our automotive facilities will remain fully-staffed and open for haulaway 24/7. Due to lighter traffic volumes and possible train consolidations, shipments from Monday, September 3 through Wednesday, September 5 may experience delays of up to 24 hours. Connecting carriers who have reduced operations for the holiday may cause delays on interline traffic.
Customer Support will maintain a limited staff on Labor Day. Standard coverage will resume on Tuesday, September 4.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
Favorable operating conditions are expected across much of the network. Multi-week maintenance projects on key subdivisions between Washington and Montana have finished, and fewer major work windows are expected to improve train flows on the Northern Transcon during the week ahead. Some trains may experience delays due to the final work window on the Amarillo expansion project.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending August 30:
Total trains held for the week increased by nearly one percent with an average of 139.1 trains held versus 138.0 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the August 2017 average: up by 105.8%
Total trains on the system was up by less than one percent versus the prior week with an average of 1,634 trains on the system.
Versus the August 2017 average: up by 13.5%
Car velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was down by nearly two percent at 199.7 MPD versus 203.4 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the August 2017 average: down by 9.6%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was down by less than one percent versus the prior week at 16.6 MPH.
Versus the August 2017 average: down by 11.9%
Total volume was down by nearly two percent from the prior week with 207,494 units moved in Week 34 (ending August 25) versus 211,279 units in Week 33 (ending August 18).
Terminal dwell increased by more than three percent versus the prior week at 26.6 hours.
Versus the August 2017 average: up by 10.0%
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.