Intermodal Network Update for August 23, 2019

Aug 23, 2019

Operational Performance
The operation experienced some service challenges during the past week resulting from train derailments in Arizona and Kansas. The first incident occurred last Friday evening on our Southern Transcon route in northern Arizona, approximately 40 miles west of Flagstaff. Both main tracks were affected for several hours. Track repairs were completed and full service through the location resumed within 24 hours.

In Kansas, high winds caused the derailment of an intermodal train early Sunday morning on our La Junta Subdivision near Walton, approximately 175 miles west of Kansas City. Wind gusts of more than 70 miles per hour were reported in the area at the time. BNSF teams and contractors were immediately deployed to the scene and track restoration work continued throughout the day. Service was restored early Monday and traffic flows through the area quickly normalized.

Overall car velocity was down slightly from the prior week but has improved versus the average for July. With our ongoing focus on improving network fluidity, the total number of trains held was down this week and has been reduced by about 20 percent from last month's average level as well as the previous August. Total volume moved on the railroad exceeded 200,000 units for the sixth consecutive week and was the third highest week recorded in 2019.

As we reported, BNSF engineering crews recently installed a new bridge span on our Fallbridge Subdivision in Home Valley, Washington. This multi-year project, which involved delivering the pre-constructed span via barge, had many unique characteristics. The process of floating out the old span, moving the new bridge into place and restoring service on the segment was accomplished in 36 hours, and without incident or injury. This video highlights the journey of the new span, the challenges that were confronted and the coordinated efforts required for completion.

BNSF's Bridge Maintenance Program is part of our commitment to keeping our railroad infrastructure safe, secure and structurally sound.

RailPASS Spotlight
BNSF is happy to announce the addition of a new feature to the RailPASS mobile application. This new feature allows drivers to submit a Broken Seal/Missing Cargo report quickly and easily through RailPASS. By utilizing this new submission method via the app, drivers can save valuable time.

Throughout this year, a greater portion of the Automated Gate System (AGS) lanes at BNSF's intermodal hubs are being converted to dedicated "RailPASS Only" lanes. Drivers who use BNSF's RailPASS mobile app will experience easier and more efficient gate transactions through these lanes. (Non-RailPASS users will still have access to a reduced number of standard kiosks.)

On Monday, August 19, the following "RailPASS Only" lanes opened at these two hubs:

  • Cicero: In-gate lanes 1-3 (RailPASS Only); lanes 4-5 (standard kiosks for non-RailPASS users)
  • Corwith: In-gate lanes 1-4 (RailPASS Only); lanes 5-7 (standard kiosks for non-RailPASS users)

RailPASS users can often experience gate transaction times up to 50% faster simply by scanning their QR code at the gate or by typing in the code received through the RailPASS mobile app.

Labor Day Operating Plan
BNSF will continue to operate Intermodal trains over the Labor Day, September 2, holiday. However, due to lighter volumes of traffic and possible train consolidations, we anticipate that outbound and inbound shipments from Saturday, August 31 through noon on Tuesday, September 3 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 3.

Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
Favorable operating conditions are expected across much of the network. Some multi-week maintenance projects on key subdivisions, such as the Hi Line Subdivision in northern Montana, are scheduled to finish during the upcoming week. Major track work continues in several other locations, including on the Pikes Peak Subdivision south of Denver and the Red Rock Subdivision through central Oklahoma. Delays for some trains are possible due to daily work windows.

Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending August 22:

Total trains held for the week decreased by more than two percent with an average of 110.0 trains held versus 112.3 trains held during the prior week.

Versus the July 2019 average: down by 20.4%
Versus the August 2018 average: down by 17.2%

Total trains on the system decreased by nearly one percent versus the prior week with an average of 1,560 trains on the system.

Versus the July 2019 average: up by 0.9%
Versus the August 2018 average: down by 4.4%

Car velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was down by more than one percent at 197.8 MPD versus 200.1 MPD recorded the prior week.

Versus the July 2019 average: up by 1.8%
Versus the August 2018 average: down by 1.5%

Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was essentially unchanged versus the prior week at 16.5 MPH.

Versus the July 2019 average: up by 3.6%
Versus the August 2018 average: down by 1.4%

Total volume increased by nearly two percent from the prior week with 206,159 units moved in Week 33 (ending August 17) versus 203,201 units in Week 32 (ending August 10).

Terminal dwell was up by more than two percent versus the prior week at 26.3 hours.

Versus the July 2019 average: up by 0.1%
Versus the August 2018 average: up by 1.2%

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.