BNSF operating teams have responded to service challenges during the past week resulting from train incidents in Arizona and Nebraska. The first incident occurred last Friday evening approximately 15 miles east of Alliance, Neb. on our Sand Hills Subdivision. Coal traffic moving to and from the Powder River Basin experienced delays as both main tracks were out of service. All repairs were quickly completed, and trains were moving again through this location within 24 hours.
In Arizona, we experienced a train derailment Monday morning on our Seligman Subdivision, approximately 15 miles east of Flagstaff. BNSF teams and contractors were immediately deployed to the scene to begin remediation efforts. Both main lines in this location were affected. As part of our busy Southern Transcon route running between Los Angeles and Chicago, this double-track outage caused significant disruptions until service was restored on the first main track just over 24 hours after the incident. Both main lines were reopened by Tuesday evening.
While mainline train operations in Arizona have resumed, service recovery efforts are still ongoing to restore normal train flows and origin/destination loading and unloading operations, which have been affected by the resulting backlog from the track outage. Intermodal in-gate restrictions implemented at the most impacted locations are expected to continue being eased in the coming days as flows return to normal.
The disruptions from these incidents in heavily-trafficked locations impacted overall service performance this week. Velocity for both cars and trains was down versus the prior week while the weekly average of total trains held increased. Both velocity and the number of trains holding, however, have improved significantly in the past few days. We remain focused on generating greater network fluidity as well as more effectively matching resources, including crews and equipment, with train flows.
Capital Expansion Update
Our engineering teams are making progress in completing several significant capital expansion projects on the network. More than two miles of new double-track were placed into service last week on our Kootenai River Subdivision south of Sandpoint, Idaho. With this new double-track segment, only a few portions of single-track now remain between Spokane, Wash. and Sandpoint.
At our Eagle Pass, Texas border gateway, two new yard staging tracks were placed into service yesterday. The new tracks, along with another track and connection to be completed at the end of the month, will provide additional capacity to handle volume growth into Mexico and enhance our ability to process cross-border traffic as efficiently as possible.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
While much of BNSF network will experience favorable operating conditions during the next several days, heavy snow is possible in the higher elevations of central Washington through the weekend. As always, BNSF teams are monitoring conditions and are ready to quickly respond to any service disruptions caused by severe weather.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending October 17:
Total trains held for the week increased by more than 29 percent with an average of 135.4 trains held versus 104.7 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the September 2019 average: up by 45.2%
Versus the October 2018 average: up by 11.0%
Total trains on the system increased by nearly one percent versus the prior week with an average of 1,545 trains on the system.
Versus the September 2019 average: up by 1.9%
Versus the October 2018 average: down by 4.7%
Car velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was down by more than one percent at 195.9 MPD versus 198.7 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the September 2019 average: down by 5.8%
Versus the October 2018 average: down by 4.5%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was down by more than four percent versus the prior week at 15.9 MPH.
Versus the September 2019 average: down by 8.2%
Versus the October 2018 average: down by 6.6%
Total volume decreased by more than one percent from the prior week with 200,402 units moved in Week 41 (ending October 12) versus 203,175 units in Week 40 (ending October 5).
Terminal dwell was essentially unchanged versus the prior week at 25.4 hours.
Versus the September 2019 average: up by 1.5%
Versus the October 2018 average: down by 3.1%
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.