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Customer Notifications inform BNSF customers of the latest news covering BNSF services, tools, prices and facilities.
To: BNSF Intermodal Customers

New Intermodal Embargo and Proper Loading Reminder

Effective immediately, BNSF will embargo all intermodal shipments of calcium carbide. On August 12, 2011, a container of calcium carbide that originated in China exploded on the Union Pacific Railroad. Subsequent inspections in California and Texas by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) found over 12 shipments containing calcium carbide that had bulged and ruptured drums. When mixed with water, calcium carbide generates acetylene (a flammable gas). The water contamination and subsequent acetylene generation places our employees, communities, network and customer shipments at risk.

Properly Load and Describe
As a reminder, damage-free shipping begins with a balanced load that is properly blocked and braced to restrict lading movement during the transportation cycle. Distressed shipments that can result from improper weight distribution or inadequate blocking and bracing pose a significant safety concern and can result in train delay and equipment damage, or worse. The BNSF Load and Ride Solutions (LARS) team can provide safe loading and securement methods for shipments.

We encourage you and your shipping partners to review the BNSF Intermodal Rules and Policies Guide, with particular attention to the items covering:
Loading, blocking and bracing
Prohibited shipments
Restricted shipments

We appreciate your support of a safe transportation network. For additional information, please contact your BNSF Marketing or LARS Representative.

If you have any questions, please send an email to