Agricultural Products Network Update for Thursday, December 22, 2022
With the upcoming Christmas and New Year's holidays, this is our last Network Update in 2022. We will return to our regular bi-weekly schedule in January and deliver the next Network Update on Friday, January 6. We will continue to update customers throughout the holidays on significant service interruptions that impact normal operating conditions.
We wish all our customers a safe, joyous and healthy holiday season.
BNSF crews continue to confront harsh operating conditions as another extreme winter weather system moves across the core of the network. An Arctic cold front stretching from the U.S.-Canada border to the Gulf Coast and from Washington state to Florida has plunged temperatures to record lows and impacted the ability to maintain normal train operations. In the Great Plains, below-zero temperatures and strong winds in excess of 60 mph have produced dangerous wind chills. Wind chills below minus 50 degrees were reported in parts of Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming. As the front moves east tonight, a winter storm, capable of producing blizzard conditions and up to two feet of snow, will develop over the Great Lakes and Midwest. The cold will remain through the holiday weekend, making this the coldest Christmas in roughly 40 years for portions of the Plains and Midwest. Winter storm warnings are also in effect for western Washington and northwestern Oregon as another winter storm, capable of producing freezing rain and strong winds, moves into the Pacific Northwest tonight.
BNSF operations teams implemented winter action plans in advance of the weather systems. We continue to maintain an around-the-clock response team to manage the deployment of additional personnel and resources to the impacted regions, including snow removal equipment and “snow coach” trains to reposition crews. Train lengths have been restricted and additional locomotives are required to generate proper air flow for train braking systems. The number of trains being held is elevated until conditions improve, affected infrastructure has been assessed and operations can safely resume. Customers with shipments designated to move through the area should expect extended delays as recovery will continue into next week.
Earlier in the week, a derailment occurred on our Southern Transcon near Victorville, California, approximately 30 miles southwest of Barstow on our Cajon Subdivision. As we reported to impacted customers, both main tracks were out of service for over 24 hours while crews worked aggressively to complete track repairs. Traffic moving through the region has since normalized.
CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR’S OPERATING PLAN
Throughout the holidays, BNSF will remain focused on keeping the Grain Network performing to meet demand. BNSF’s Christmas and New Year’s shuttle holidays will be 6 a.m., Saturday, December 24, through 6 a.m., Monday, December 26, and 6 a.m., Saturday, December 31, through 6 a.m., Monday, January 2, 2023. Impacted customers may request to move official spot times:
- Empty Shuttles
Customers with empty trains arriving at the loading facility after 6 a.m., Saturday, December 24, may elect to move their official spot time to 6 a.m., Monday, December 26. During this time frame, trains may be loaded if desired.
- Loaded Shuttles
Customers with loaded trains arriving at an unload facility after 6 a.m., Saturday, December 24, may elect to move their official spot time to 6 a.m., Monday, December 26. During this time frame, trains may be unloaded if desired.
New Year's Holiday
- Empty Shuttles
Customers with empty trains arriving at the loading facility after 6 a.m., Saturday, December 31, may elect to move their official spot time to 6 a.m., Monday, January 2, 2023. During this time frame, trains may be loaded if desired.
- Loaded Shuttles
Customers with loaded trains arriving at an unload facility after 6 a.m., Saturday, December 31, may elect to move their official spot time to 6 a.m., Monday, January 2, 2023. During this time frame, trains may be unloaded if desired.
Whether empty or loaded, customers who elect to move their spot time must contact BNSF Grain Operations at least eight hours in advance and advise of their intentions for train, power, and crew planning purposes. There are no allowances beyond the time frames specified. Origination Efficiency Payment (OEP) or Destination Efficiency Payment (DEP) will be lost if customer(s) elects to operate outside of these allowances. Please refer to Demurrage Tariff 6004-C to review the free time and charges for Christmas and New Year's.
CARLOAD TRAIN SERVICE
Train service will not be curtailed due to the holiday; however, BNSF plans to minimize the number of yard, local, and road-switch assignments at terminals during the holiday consistent with customer activity and volume demand. Connecting carriers who have reduced operations for the holidays may cause delays on interline traffic.
Customer Support and Grain Operations will maintain a limited staff on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve until 6 p.m. Normal coverage will resume on the Monday following each holiday.
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.