Network Update for Friday, February 3, 2017
The operation continues to address service disruptions causing train delays and reduced operating velocity affecting traffic to and from facilities in the Seattle and Portland areas. As we have reported, recent strong storms forced some temporary service outages, particularly on our busy Fallbridge Subdivision between Pasco and Vancouver, Washington, due to heavy ice and snow that resulted in numerous downed trees on our main lines and damaged slide fences in several locations.
The outages triggered by the severe weather hampered normal productivity and created a substantial backlog that we are working to eliminate as aggressively as possible. The chart below highlights the impact of these storms, two in particular which resulted in the loss of our ability to run trains for three days. As a result, our Northwest Division car inventory experienced significant surges in the number of cars on line versus normal levels.
The result of this spike in cars has caused congestion along our primary route between Spokane and Seattle/Tacoma, which has negatively affected overall service performance in the region. We have re-routed some trains through other subdivisions in central Washington, but since additional power is necessary to traverse those mountainous routes, the benefits to improved network efficiency are limited.
In confronting these challenges, we have re-positioned senior leadership to manage an around-the-clock response, and we have focused on lengthening the size of trains to maximize the volume that traverses this impacted part of our network. We also continue to deploy additional personnel and equipment resources to these areas, with plans for relocating an additional 200 Train, Yard, and Engine (TY&E) employees to our Northwest Division.
Unfortunately, after a brief break from the stormy weather, an active pattern is again poised to impact the region beginning today and into the upcoming week. Winter storm warnings are currently in effect for locations along our Fallbridge and Spokane Subdivisions and into portions of central Washington as significant snow and/or ice is expected through tomorrow morning before changing to rain. We will continue to provide you further updates on any significant service interruptions.
In our South Region, traffic in and out of Eagle Pass and Hondo, Texas may experience delays today due to a bridge outage that occurred last night a few miles west of our Cadet Rail Yard in San Antonio. Several trains are currently staging for the reopening of this line, which is estimated to occur tomorrow afternoon.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
While more rain is expected in Pacific Northwest, frigid temperatures will return to the rest of the Northern Corridor during the next several days. We are also monitoring the threat for some severe weather in the Midwest down into the Mississippi River valley early in the week as the colder weather moves east. Much of the southern portions of the network from Texas to California will experience favorable operating conditions with no service interruptions due to severe weather expected.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending February 2:
Total trains held for the week decreased by more than five percent with an average 105.6 trains held versus 111.4 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the February 2016 average: up by 189.2%
Total trains on the system was up by more than four percent with an average of 1,479 trains on the system versus 1,429 trains during the prior week.
Locomotive velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was 289.6, which is up by nearly two percent from the 284.3 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the February 2016 average: down by 3.4%
Car velocity increased by more than one percent at 209.4 MPD versus 206.8 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the February 2016 average: down by 8.1%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was essentially unchanged from the prior week at 18.0 MPH.
Versus the February 2016 average: down by 17.5%
Total volume was essentially unchanged from the prior week with 197,011 units moved in Week 4 (ending January 28) versus 196,161 units in Week 3 (ending January 21).
Terminal dwell increased by nearly one percent from the prior week at 29.3 hours.
Versus the February 2016 average: up by 14.9%
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.