We had hoped the past two weeks would bring significant relief to inter-modal and truckload operations, however, the compounding affect of several events has slowed the recovery process. For example, despite ongoing cleanup efforts, the Bethlehem and Philadelphia, PA ramps continue to experience delays of 36-72 hours. Additionally, early last week and into this week, there were several incidents which delayed or closed roads and inter-modal routes integral to specific locations.
On Sunday, March 2nd, Winter Storm Titan blew in causing hazardous road conditions in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and up through the mid Atlantic. This prevented crews from reaching the trains. As a result, delays of 24-48 hours are expected for inter-modal traffic to and from the above locations. Titan also had an impact on railroad, dray and truckload operations in areas from Dallas, TX to Norfolk, VA. An example of I-40 gridlock outside of Memphis.
Sunday, February 23rd, marked the beginning of a series of events directly affecting Seattle, Spokane and Portland services. A BNSF non-inter-modal train derailment occurred on the main track at Saco, MT. The track was closed the majority of the day, causing 24-48 hour delays. On Saturday, March 1st, a BNSF non-inter-modal train derailed on the main track at Olney, MT. Service was halted for more than 24 hours, again causing 24-48 hour delays. Lastly, this past Monday, an avalanche in the Glacier Park, MT area blocked both main lines (see photo). The combined impact of the derailments and avalanche could result in continued delays of 24-72 hours in and out of these cities.
We and our transportation partners continue to work through the challenges presented by this winter’s extreme weather as both the number and length of delays have decreased over the past two weeks. With no further interruptions, inter-modal service will improve as locomotive, car, box and crew balance is restored. We anticipate a similar reduction in delays and a return to standard service for truckload, LTL, dedicated and home delivery services over the next one to two weeks.
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