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To: BNSF Agricultural Products Customers

New Shuttle Destination Efficiency Payment Requirements

BNSF Railway is committed to continuously improve the quality of service provided to our Agricultural customers. This includes not only investments in rail and infrastructure, but also helping customers and BNSF achieve operating efficiencies and asset velocity gains.

Electronic pre-release utilization became a qualifying requirement for Origin Efficiency Payments (OEP) in 2008. Since enacting this requirement, system-wide pre-release utilization has gone from 40% to 99%. This improved notice to release loaded shuttle trains allows us to efficiently get train crews in place at origin and enables our ability to reduce the unproductive dwell of loaded shuttle trains at loading facilities. This new and improved approach has resulted in a 40% reduction in origin shuttle dwell system-wide, when comparing 2009 performance to 2008. The 40% reduction in origin dwell translates directly to improved shuttle set turn times, which benefits all industry stakeholders.

In light of proven success at loading stations, BNSF will be transferring this requirement and best practice to shuttle destinations.

Beginning Tuesday, December 1, 2009, BNSF will conduct a trial period to test four hour destination electronic pre-release for shuttle destinations. This trial period will begin with selected Pacific Northwest export destinations and will eventually include all shuttle destinations. Upon completion of the trial period, utilization of four hour destination electronic pre-release will be a requirement for shuttle unloaders to qualify for the Destination Efficiency Payment (DEP).

The current requirement that the shuttle must be unloaded and released within 15 hours of placement to earn $100 per car will continue to apply.

Entering a pre-release is easy!
o Log in to and open Switch & Release
o Select cars for pre-release
o Enter a release time which is at least four hours in the future

For Example:

    For a train placed at midnight and planned to be released 15 hours later, you must have completed a pre-release by 11:00 a.m. showing 15:00 as the release time.

If you do not have a login, you can register at any time by clicking on the Register/Login Customer link at, and can request access to Switch & Release during registration.

For help with Switch & Release, please contact BNSF eBusiness at 888-428-2673, option 4, 1. To have eBusiness contact you, select “Please have someone call me at:” while online.

For additional questions related to all DEP requirements, please contact Chris Williamson with BNSF Grain Operations at 817-593-6150 or email him at

Your business is important to us. Thank you for choosing BNSF Railway as your transportation service provider.

If you have any questions, please send an email to