Arctic cold across the northern Plains and upper Midwest has caused significant operational challenges for train and hub operations in the region. All-time records have been broken in many locations, including Chicago, with air temperatures nearly 30 below zero and wind chills around 50 below zero.
The harsh conditions have resulted in multiple trains stopped due to broken rails as well as air flow issues involving trains' braking systems despite the implementation of length restrictions and distributed locomotive power. Key subdivisions on our Twin Cities and Chicago Divisions currently have several disabled trains with no alternate routes available. We are also experiencing reduced productivity at terminals in the region due to multiple switch and air flow issues across rail yards.
While taking all necessary safety precautions to work in these conditions, BNSF crews are actively responding to service interruption locations and addressing issues. Our round-the-clock command center is directing response efforts and managing the deployment of resources to affected locations.
The severe cold will linger for the next 24-36 hours with some snow likely in the region, particularly the Chicago area, on Thursday night. Weather conditions will begin to improve on Friday along with a major warmup this weekend.
As we have communicated, our focus is on restoring normal operations as quickly and effectively as possible. If you have any questions regarding your shipment(s), please contact BNSF Customer Support at 1-888-428-2673.
We will continue to provide customers with further updates.