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To: All BNSF Customers
09/09/2015

Important Update on Positive Train Control Implementation

I wanted to share with you a copy of a letter that BNSF President and CEO, Carl Ice, sent in reply to U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman, Senator John Thune, who requested information from all Class I freight railroads on the potential impacts to our freight networks and our customers if the statutory deadline for Positive Train Control (PTC) deployment is not extended past the end of this year. No Class I railroad, including BNSF, will meet the December 31, 2015 deadline for implementation.

09-09-2015 BNSF PTC Response.pdf

As you will see in the letter, Senator Thune specifically requested that we provide the issues and challenges that could arise if Congress does not extend the statutory deadline and what actions we are considering or analyzing as a result of these issues and challenges. Legal analysis of the statutes and regulations calls into question whether we can legally operate any freight or passenger service on mandated lines where PTC has not been installed and is not operational by January 1, 2016.

There are several legal and policy reasons that cause us to question our ability to operate after the deadline expires. While we recognize our common carrier obligation, these questions lead BNSF to believe that it cannot operate in violation of the law.

PTC is the biggest technological change implemented by the railroad industry – ever. It is even bigger than the conversion from steam to diesel powered locomotives. The technological complexity of the PTC system and the scope of implementation is on a scale that we have never seen. BNSF has made significant progress in installation of PTC system equipment but has also experienced the technical challenges that come from being one of the first to implement a complex and sophisticated system.

Nonetheless, BNSF is deeply committed to deployment and we are equally committed to getting the implementation done right. We continue to test and implement the system as quickly as possible and will continue to work with Congress to pass a clean extension for deploying this very important technology transformation.

BNSF will continue to work to avoid adverse impacts to our customers in the absence of an extension. That includes a commitment to continued communication and providing information as we approach the deadline so that you have the best, and most current information possible for making planning decisions for your business.

bobb sig
Steve Bobb
Executive Vice President and
Chief Marketing Officer


If you have any questions, please send an email to Customer.Notifications@bnsf.com