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U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) late last week sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) calling for the inclusion of two new metrics in the weekly grain order reports BNSF Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific are required to submit to the board.Following increased concerns from South Dakota rail shippers regarding the harvest season, Thune asked the STB to require the Class Is to include the average shuttle turn rate — the average number of roundtrips a group of rail cars makes per month — in the reports. The senator also wants the reports to include the number of locomotives CP is providing each week to the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad (RCP&E). "Strong, effective oversight and transparency are among the best tools we have to ensure CP and BNSF improve rail service at this critical time for producers and shippers," said Thune in a press release. "I appreciate the STB’s coordination and help as we work together to address these rail service issues for South Dakota shippers."On June 20, the STB ordered BNSF and CP to publicly file plans to resolve their respective grain-car backlogs and issue weekly reports that include the total number of late cars and the average length of delays. CP also is required to disclose the number of grain cars it provides to RCP&E on a weekly basis.Enhancing the reports to include the average shuttle turn rate and the number of locomotives CP provides to RCP&E will help increase transparency and ensure shippers can get their commodities to market, said Thune.
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