Network Update for Friday, July 1, 2016
As we have reported to all impacted customers, two BNSF intermodal trains on our Southern Transcon route collided Tuesday morning near Panhandle, Texas, approximately 25 miles northeast of Amarillo. Three of our crew members were fatally injured while one remains hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. As expressed by BNSF President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Ice: "The entire BNSF family is terribly saddened by this event and we extend our deepest sympathy and thoughts to the families and friends of the employees involved in this incident. This is an extremely difficult time and our entire organization grieves for the loss of our colleagues."
We are working closely with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other federal rail officials to determine the cause of this accident. The head-on collision resulted in the derailment of several cars and containers as well as a large fire at the scene. Both main tracks were forced out of service with subsequent delays to trains scheduled to move through the incident location. While a substantial number of trains were forced to hold, we implemented procedures to re-route or detour more than 20 trains to minimize the service disruption as much as possible.
BNSF and local fire crews worked around the clock since the incident occurred to both extinguish the fire and conduct an extensive recovery and cleanup effort. Their tireless efforts allowed one main track to return to service within 48 hours while the second main track was back in operation by yesterday afternoon. Trains are moving at reduced speed through this portion of the Panhandle Subdivision, and several trains that were planning to detour have returned to their normal routing.
We will continue to update impacted customers on any further service-related issues associated with this incident.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
As the backlog of trains holding on the Transcon continues to clear, we expect traffic flows to normalize quickly as we move into the upcoming week. BNSF trains and local terminal train service will run according to normal schedules on Independence Day (Monday, July 4), however, delays may occur on interline traffic if connecting carriers have reduced operations.
We are continuing to monitor extreme heat impacting parts of the network. High temperatures nearing 120 degrees are expected in parts of the desert Southwest during the next several days. More frequent inspections to detect any thermal misalignment of track are being conducted. Additional procedures, including temporary speed restrictions, will also be imposed as necessary to ensure safety.
We are also monitoring the potential for flooding and track washouts in portions of the central Plains. Flash flood watches are currently in effect for the Kansas City area and much of Missouri, including St. Louis, through the holiday weekend with nearly six inches of rain possible in some locations.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending June 30:
Total trains held for the week was unchanged from the prior week with an average of 40.4 trains held.
Versus the June 2015 average: better by 31.2%
Total trains on the system was up by nearly three percent with an average of 1,362 trains on the system versus 1,328 trains during the prior week.
Locomotive velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was 297.9, which is down by more than two percent from the 305.4 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the June 2015 average: better by 10.6%
Car velocity was essentially unchanged at 226.0 MPD versus 225.7 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the June 2015 average: better by 5.4%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was down by more than two percent from the prior week at 19.7 MPH.
Versus the June 2015 average: better by 10.2%
Total volume was up by nearly four percent with 191,132 units moved in Week 25 (ending June 25) versus 183,962 units in Week 24 (ending June 18).
Terminal dwell decreased by nearly one percent at 23.5 hours versus 23.7 hours recorded the prior week.
Versus the June 2015 average: better by 3.3%
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.