As we move into March, BNSF teams are focused on improving service performance following February’s frequent and challenging winter weather. We continued to experience difficult operating conditions this week along our Southern Transcon route as more winter weather moved into New Mexico and Arizona midweek. High winds and snowfall — more than two feet in Flagstaff — significantly impacted velocity and fluidity. As reported to impacted customers, a derailment caused by high winds on Sunday, approximately 73 miles east of Belen, New Mexico, also caused traffic delays. Both main lines on this heavily trafficked portion of the Transcon were out of service for approximately 24 hours while crews worked to repair the track. Service in these areas is improving as our recovery efforts continue and our operating teams build on the positive momentum heading into next week.
Early last Friday morning, as reported, we also experienced a derailment in North Dakota, approximately 14 miles west of Minot, that impacted both tracks. One track was reopened Saturday morning, and service was restored to the other main track by Saturday evening.
Key performance indicators reflect the negative impact of repeated winter storm events and service interruptions on the overall network. Average car velocity was significantly lower, and terminal dwell was also higher versus both the prior week and last month. Our local service compliance measure, which reflects our efficiency in handling carload freight, also decreased slightly versus the previous week and month.
SERVICE EXPECTATIONS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
Much of the network will experience favorable operating conditions to begin the week. However, an active weather pattern approaching the West Coast could bring heavy rain and mountain snow to the Pacific Northwest and California on Saturday. BNSF teams will monitor this system and are prepared and ready to respond quickly to any service disruptions.
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.