BNSF is telling its customers that it will go into the 2014-2015 winter season better prepared than ever before, especially if the United States experiences a return of the polar vortex. The 2013-2014 winter was one of the most severe winters the United States has experienced in decades with extreme temperatures that persisted for long periods and created special challenges for operating the railroad.
“While we always prepare the operations for winter, the extreme cold experienced last year provided us some additional insight that we have incorporated into our future preparations and operating procedures,” said Steve Bobb, BNSF executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “We know that customers depend on BNSF for reliable freight transportation. While unplanned events can always happen, we will go into this winter season with more resources and more preparation than ever before so that our people stay safe amid the harshest of weather conditions and our customers’ freight gets to its destination as promised.”
Given the extremes endured last winter, BNSF’s operating divisions evaluated this year’s winter action plans with the benefit of last year’s winter experience. Steps include:
· Taken inventory of snow removal equipment and supplies, such as emergency generators and salt supplies.
· Tested specialized snow removal equipment to make sure it works properly. For example, snowfall in excess of 8” will activate pushers and blade and salt trucks.
· Reviewed winter weather operational procedures on when to adjust crew transportation procedures so that moving crew from one location to another using crew vans is eliminated in favor of allowing crews to remain overnight at crew change locations as well as when to adjust train size, speed and other operating restrictions.