Network Update for Friday, May 26, 2017
The operation generated improved overall performance this week with good fluidity reported across the network. Velocity for cars, trains and locomotives each rose by approximately two percent versus the prior week as we reported a similar increase in total volume and trains on the system. The average number of trains holding experienced a double-digit reduction from the previous week despite a significant service outage on our Scenic Subdivision in central Washington on Tuesday. Several wildfires were reported adjacent to our main line near Winton, which forced an evacuation of the area. BNSF crews worked closely with fire officials to address the situation and operations were restored within 12 hours.
Maintenance activity around the network, as shown on this map, is in full swing this time of year. While necessary for safety, reliability and to improve efficiency, this activity often causes unavoidable train delays and/or speed reductions through those areas where maintenance work windows are in effect. One of the largest maintenance programs on the network is currently taking place on our Milk River Subdivision, which runs between Havre and Glasgow, Montana. The program, the most extensive on the subdivision in the past several years, began on Tuesday and involves replacing nearly 38,000 feet of rail, installing more than 40,000 new rail ties, and replacing approximately 116,000 feet of ballast. The work is expected to continue through the middle of June.
While capital maintenance is ongoing, we are also addressing the need for additional capacity in the Pacific Northwest with several expansion projects that are scheduled for completion this year.
On our Spokane Subdivision, we are completing two new segments of double-track, which will improve fluidity through northern Idaho. We are also realigning existing tracks in our Hauser Yard to increase mainline fluidity at our fueling facility. On our Fallbridge Subdivision in Washington, we are adding a new siding between Wishram and Vancouver, and we are installing several miles of new double-track on the Bellingham Subdivision between Ferndale and Custer that will help improve traffic flows to and from British Columbia. We expect these capacity expansion projects to deliver improved velocity as they are finished and brought into service. BNSF is also moving forward with design and engineering work on a second bridge over Lake Pend Oreille near Sandpoint, with the goal to begin construction in 2018.
Memorial Day Holiday Operating Plan
BNSF will operate carload and local terminal service according to normal schedules throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Though train service will not be curtailed, BNSF will minimize the number of yard, local and road-switch assignments at terminals due to anticipated customer shutdowns for the holiday. Connecting carriers who have reduced operations for the holiday may cause delays on interline traffic. Customer Support will provide normal coverage on the days around the holiday and will maintain a limited staff on Memorial Day.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
We are monitoring the potential for severe thunderstorms and some tornadoes this weekend across parts of the southern Plains and Mississippi River Valley as a powerful storm system moves through the region. During the upcoming week, no significant service interruptions due to weather are expected as much of the network will experience favorable operating conditions.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending May 25:
Total trains held for the week decreased by more than 14 percent with an average 69.4 trains held versus 81.3 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the May 2016 average: up by 145.3%
Total trains on the system increased by nearly two percent versus the prior week with an average of 1,447 trains on the system.
Locomotive velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was 282.5, which is up by nearly two percent from the 278.0 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the May 2016 average: down by 7.1%
Car velocity was up by more than two percent at 216.9 MPD versus 212.1 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the May 2016 average: down by 7.0%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was up by more than two percent versus the prior week at 18.6 MPH.
Versus the May 2016 average: down by 17.1%
Total volume was up by more than two percent from the prior week with 195,992 units moved in Week 20 (ending May 20) versus 191,760 units in Week 19 (ending May 13).
Terminal dwell was essentially unchanged from the prior week at 25.8 hours.
Versus the May 2016 average: up by 14.0%
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.