A message to BNSF customers about the effects of Hurricane Ike on BNSF
To our valued customers:
I am pleased to report that with the exception of trackage serving Galveston Island, all BNSF trackage damaged by Hurricane Ike on the Gulf Coast is open and available to accommodate customer shipments, as is the Port Terminal Railroad Association (PTRA), via which BNSF reaches many Houston facilities.
Track on the causeway linking Galveston Island to the mainland was heavily damaged, but we expect to complete repairs and be able to reach the Galveston terminal by the middle of next week. Aerial inspection indicates that trackage on the island itself received only minimal damage and can be restored in short order.
We have contacted Houston-area customers individually to determine their ability to receive incoming shipments, and are staging inbound cars to avoid congesting customer and BNSF facilities in the Houston area and nearby locations on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Many customers remain without commercial electric power, which has affected their ability to receive and unload railcars. BNSF is working closely with PTRA and Union Pacific Railroad to maintain fluidity of rail service on the Texas Gulf Coast as customers restore their own operations.
More than 500 BNSF employees were affected by the hurricane, with the impact ranging from evacuation to loss of electric power to significant damage to their homes. BNSF has made generators available to our employees – in addition to the generators being used to maintain power to critical signal and telecommunications systems.
Although employees are encouraged to see to the needs of themselves and their families, we are continuing to deploy available train operating crews on the Gulf Coast to meet our customers’ needs for rail service. I know you join me in expressing appreciation to our first-line employees for their efforts.
And I want to express my appreciation for your support and your patience, and for your business.
Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer