Risk for Additional Landslides Remains High in the Pacific Northwest
BNSF continues to actively monitor landslide-prone areas on our network in Washington, Idaho and Montana as more wet weather moves in. Widespread rain and mountain snow is likely today, with more expected through the upcoming week. Many locations in the region are already nearing records for their wettest March ever. With very saturated ground and steep terrain that runs alongside significant portions of our main lines, additional landslides are possible during the next several days.
As we reported, multiple landslides in the past two weeks triggered some temporary service outages and train delays. Two landslides along a segment of our Kootenai River Subdivision near Katka, Idaho on Thursday, March 16 caused a main line service outage of about 24 hours. Unfortunately, following the nonstop efforts by our crews to clear and repair that affected area, three more slides occurred on Saturday afternoon, March 18 which forced another near 24-hour service outage. Re-routing traffic around the area was also limited due to washouts on the Montana Rail Link (MRL) line near Sandpoint.
Our operations teams have worked aggressively to restore service and improve fluidity following these incidents. The total number of trains holding has been reduced by more than 50% from its peak of 162 this past Sunday.
With the continuing weather-related challenges and high risk for landslides, BNSF crews are addressing susceptible areas by conducting additional inspections as necessary. As always, we will respond as aggressively as possible to any disruption and keep you updated on any significant service interruptions.