Network Update for Friday, June 23, 2017
The operation experienced some decreases in overall performance this week. Car, train and locomotive velocities were reduced by a few percentage points compared to the previous week. The number of total trains held also remains at an elevated level versus the average from the previous June.
As we have reported, BNSF maintenance crews remain very active throughout the network with several significant projects in both our North and South Regions. Customers can review the current track maintenance schedule and map here for more information regarding these projects and potential delays. The work being conducted, which includes rail replacement, new rail tie installation, track undercutting and bridge construction, is essential to ensuring the safety and fluidity of the railroad. We continue to implement procedures, such as the re-routing of some traffic, to minimize service disruption.
Severe weather also impacted operations in our Heartland Division last weekend, specifically in central and eastern Nebraska. More than 20 trains were delayed after high winds of nearly 100 miles per hour Friday night downed multiple trees on our main lines in the Lincoln and Omaha areas. Some subdivisions remained congested into the start of week but have since normalized through the affected locations.
BNSF Expanding AGS Footprint in 2017
BNSF will complete the installation of Automated Gate Systems (AGS) at the Phoenix Intermodal Facility on Monday, June 26 and at the Houston (Pearland) Intermodal Facility on Monday, July 24.
AGS features biometric driver identification, license plate recognition and tire inspection portals. Simply driving through the AGS captures much of the data that was previously entered manually, dramatically reducing the amount of time that a driver spends at our gate. When used in conjunction with the BNSF RailPASS mobile app, drivers can pass through the AGS in as little as 30 seconds compared to 3-5 minutes at a traditional gate. RailPASS is available on the Android and Apple app stores and was designed to help drivers maximize their valuable time by making it easier to move freight into and out of our facilities.
We will begin construction of AGS at our St. Paul Intermodal Facility later this year. Upon completion, more than 85% of the freight that moves into and out of our intermodal facilities will travel through AGS. We are excited to offer this technology to you, our customers, as it increases facility throughput and security, improves the driver experience, enhances safety and reduces carbon emissions at BNSF intermodal facilities.
Independence Day Holiday Operating Plan
BNSF will continue to operate Intermodal trains over the Independence Day, July 4, holiday. However, due to lighter volumes of traffic and possible train consolidations, we anticipate that outbound and inbound shipments from Monday, July 3 through noon on Wednesday, July 5 may experience delays of up to 24 hours.
Automotive trains will continue to run as normal on July 4, and our automotive facilities will remain fully-staffed and open for haulaway 24/7. Due to expected lighter volume levels over the holiday and during model year plant shutdowns, we anticipate some extending of our service schedules as we consolidate volumes to fill trains. We expect that shipments from Monday, July 3 through Saturday, July 15 may experience delays of up to 48 hours.
Connecting carriers who have reduced operations for the holiday may cause delays on interline traffic. Customer Support will provide normal coverage on the days surrounding the holiday and will maintain a limited staff on July 4.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
During the next several days, no significant service interruptions due to weather are expected. Extreme heat warnings will remain in place across the desert Southwest through Monday, as high temperatures in some areas will approach 120 degrees. Intense heat causes metal to expand, which can lead to a track misalignment. We are monitoring these conditions closely and will conduct more frequent inspections as necessary to ensure safety.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending June 22:
Total trains held for the week increased by more than 20 percent with an average 80.0 trains held versus 66.1 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the June 2016 average: up by 118.6%
Total trains on the system was up by more than one percent versus the prior week with an average of 1,449 trains on the system.
Locomotive velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was 277.1, which is down by nearly three percent from the 285.8 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the June 2016 average: down by 8.2%
Car velocity was down by more than four percent at 206.0 MPD versus 215.0 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the June 2016 average: down by 9.2%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was down by nearly four percent versus the prior week at 17.9 MPH.
Versus the June 2016 average: down by 12.0%
Total volume was up by nearly one percent from the prior week with 199,991 units moved in Week 24 (ending June 17) versus 198,966 units in Week 23 (ending June 10).
Terminal dwell was up by more than two percent from the prior week at 26.7 hours.
Versus the June 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.