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To: BNSF Customers

Upper Midwest Rail Operations Update

The effects of consecutive severe weather disruptions continue to impact BNSF operations across the upper Midwest. The most recent period of extreme cold temperatures and heavy snowfall have slowed the return to normal operations, presenting elevated risk factors for personnel and interfering with road and yard operations.

  • Heaviest impacts are concentrated in the following states and areas - North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and the Chicago interchange gateway. Current conditions remain at sub-zero temperatures, with severe overnight wind chills.
  • Also, Chicago Interchange with Belt Railway of Chicago (used exclusively to reach many smaller connections in Chicago) will remain congested through the next week.
Actions that we have taken in response to these challenges include but are not limited to:
  • Coordinating and re-routing shipments with eastern carriers through alternate interchange gateways to avoid weather delayed operations in Chicago.
  • Modifying BNSF’s carload Transportation Service Plan (TSP) to redirect shipment flow to other terminal locations that have not been impacted by weather and reduce flow into North town yard in Minneapolis and other congested terminals.
As a result, customers tracing their freight may notice non-standard routings, locations and interchanges. Some of this traffic re-routing could lead to longer overall transit times by several days than normal conditions.

A new round of heavy snowfall is forecasted today, the operational impact and associated traffic delays are expected to extend into the coming weeks.

We recognize the severe impact that current conditions are having on our customers and we are committed to restoring service levels as quickly as possible.

If you have questions, please contact BNSF Customer Support at 1-888-428-2673 (select option 4, then option 3).

If you have any questions, please send an email to