Network Update for Friday, March 31, 2017
The operation experienced greater productivity this week with improved velocity and good fluidity reported across the network. Average car, train and locomotive velocity were each higher versus the prior week. While we continue to address service challenges in the Pacific Northwest resulting from extreme weather and congestion, the average number of trains holding was reduced by nearly 30 percent from the previous weekly levels this month.
As we have reported, BNSF crews have frequently responded to multiple washout and landslide incidents that have caused significant service disruptions during the past several weeks. According to the National Weather Service, the amount of rainfall in Seattle in February and March combined, set a new record for the two-month period, exceeding the total from more than 120 years of weather records. For this month, the Seattle-Tacoma area has received more than double the normal level of precipitation, while the Spokane area has experienced its second wettest March in history. The risk for additional landslides remains elevated across the region, and we continue to conduct additional inspections in susceptible areas as necessary.
Our “capital gangs” have also been active on multiple subdivisions across the network, particularly across the South Region. This year’s capital plan, with its largest component directed to maintaining our 32,500 route mile network, includes many rail replacement, new rail tie installation, track undercutting as well as bridge construction projects. Maintenance work is critical to ensuring the safety and fluidity of our rail network. As we move into April and the start of our peak maintenance season, we will continue to implement procedures, such as the re-routing of some traffic, to minimize any train delays.
Third Phase of Maintenance Work on Mississippi River Bridge at Memphis
BNSF maintenance crews will begin the third phase of major rehabilitation work involving the Mississippi River Bridge at Memphis beginning Monday, April 3 and continuing through Tuesday, April 4. During this time, trains will be rerouted or held to allow BNSF crews to replace spans along the eastbound approach to the bridge. Customers may experience 24-48 hour delays (depending on the route) during the 36-hour maintenance window.
This is the third of four planned maintenance windows that involves rebuilding more than 50 percent of the 125-year-old steel bridge. Crews are replacing 51 spans and adding new concrete piers, with the project scheduled for completion this summer. We appreciate your patience as we make this significant infrastructure upgrade to further improve our service.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
We are monitoring the threat for multiple rounds of severe storms this weekend across portions of the central and southern Plains, which may cause some train delays in any affected areas. As a relatively quiet weather pattern takes hold over the western U.S. during the upcoming week, much of the network should experience favorable operating conditions for early April with no significant service interruptions due to weather expected.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending March 30:
Total trains held for the week decreased by more than 27 percent with an average 78.6 trains held versus 108.1 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the March 2016 average: up by 135.2%
Total trains on the system was essentially unchanged versus the prior week with an average of 1,455 trains on the system.
Locomotive velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was 280.1, which is up by nearly one percent from the 278.5 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the March 2016 average: down by 4.6%
Car velocity increased by nearly two percent at 211.7 MPD versus 208.2 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the March 2016 average: down by 5.8%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was up by more than three percent versus the prior week at 18.5 MPH.
Versus the March 2016 average: down by 16.1%
Total volume was up by nearly five percent from the prior week with 196,597 units moved in Week 12 (ending March 25) versus 188,023 units in Week 11 (ending March 18).
Terminal dwell was down by more than one percent from the prior week at 26.7 hours.
Versus the March 2016 average: up by 9.5%
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.