BNSF is responding to significant service challenges that have impacted normal train flows on our busy Southern Transcon route between Southern California and the Midwest. During the past week, our operations and engineering teams have confronted extreme weather and other disruptions on the western end of the Transcon. High winds and record high temperatures of around 120 degrees in several locations caused reduced velocity, with additional inspections and track repairs needed in some areas.
As we reported, we also experienced a derailment on the Transcon last week in New Mexico, approximately 60 miles west of Belen. With both main lines out of service for approximately 24 hours, a significant number of trains were delayed. The combination of this derailment and the extreme weather created resource imbalances along this busy corridor from California into New Mexico. While we are making progress in resolving these issues, including the deployment of additional locomotives to the region, customers should expect lingering delays during the next few days until operations have fully normalized.
In addition, we are also monitoring the Rafael wildfire, which is located approximately 20 miles southwest of Flagstaff, Arizona and uncontained. The fire is currently not considered a threat to the Transcon but conditions in the region remain conducive for additional wildfires.
Chicago Facilities Update
While operations are recovering in the Southwest, conditions at BNSF's intermodal facilities in the Chicago area (Corwith, Cicero, Willow Springs and Logistics Park Chicago), which were already challenged due to slow return times on chassis limiting equipment availability for unloading trains, elevated ramp dwell times and high inventories, were further impacted by recent severe weather. Multiple tornado warnings and lightning in the area caused several work stoppages Sunday afternoon and into the overnight hours.
To support recovery efforts, customers are encouraged to prioritize the pick-up of units that have been unloaded at these facilities. Prompt pick-up will help improve traffic flows, reduce lot congestion and provide the space needed for processing inbound shipments as quickly as possible. We encourage customers to utilize our suite of Web and mobile tools to track shipments.
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