Network Update for Friday, August 18, 2017
The operation continues to generate and sustain solid overall performance with some improvement versus the previous August. Car, train and locomotive velocity averages were each relatively steady with the prior week’s levels along with more significant reduction in terminal dwell, which is at its lowest weekly level year-to-date. The number of total trains held also decreased after a brief rise that resulted from a disruption in service through northwestern Montana earlier this week.
As we reported to impacted customers, a coal train derailment occurred early Monday morning on the Montana Rail Link (MRL) line running between Missoula, Montana and Sandpoint, Idaho. Nearly two dozen trains experienced some delays due to the incident, while several trains were re-routed or detoured around the area to minimize the disruption as much as possible. Service through the impacted location was restored within 48 hours and train flows through the area quickly normalized.
Final Phase of Mississippi River Bridge Project at Memphis Begins August 28
BNSF maintenance crews will begin the final phase of major rehabilitation work involving the Mississippi River Bridge at Memphis beginning Monday, August 28 and continuing through Wednesday, August 30. During this time, trains will be rerouted or held to allow BNSF crews to complete bridge construction. Customers may experience 24-48 hour delays (depending on the route) during the 55-hour maintenance window.
This final construction phase is the fourth maintenance window involving work on this 125-year-old bridge, which began last fall. Once completed, crews will have replaced 51 spans and added new concrete piers to the bridge to extend its anticipated life cycle another approximately 100 years. We appreciate your patience as we make this significant infrastructure upgrade to further improve our service.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
Much of the BNSF network will experience favorable operating conditions during the next several days. Our “capital gangs” will remain active in both our North and South Regions, specifically nine subdivisions where project work windows are scheduled during the upcoming week. This map highlights those locations, including our Scenic and Fallbridge Subdivisions in Washington as well as the Kootenai River Subdivision in western Montana, where some trains may experience delays and/or speed reductions during these scheduled windows.
Significant portions of the BNSF network, particularly in Oregon, Wyoming and across the central Plains, will experience a rare total solar eclipse during the midday hours on Monday. BNSF will continue normal operations and run trains as scheduled throughout the day and during the eclipse. Impacted crews will receive thorough safety briefings regarding exposures and the reduced visibility conditions during the several minutes when the eclipse occurs. We have also proactively advised communities along the eclipse’s path to stay away from the railroad tracks and to only cross at designated grade crossings.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending August 17:
Total trains held for the week decreased by nearly three percent with an average 57.4 trains held versus 59.1 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the August 2016 average: down by 4.4%
Total trains on the system was essentially unchanged versus the prior week with an average of 1,445 trains on the system.
Locomotive velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was 283.4, which is down by nearly one percent from the 281.7 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the August 2016 average: down by 3.5%
Car velocity increased by nearly one percent at 223.7 MPD versus 221.9 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the August 2016 average: up by 0.3%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was down by nearly one percent versus the prior week at 19.0 MPH.
Versus the August 2016 average: up by 0.5%
Total volume was essentially unchanged from the prior week with 204,775 units moved in Week 32 (ending August 12) versus 204,205 units in Week 31 (ending August 5).
Terminal dwell was down by nearly three percent from the prior week at 23.6 hours.
Versus the August 2016 average: down by 4.2%
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.