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Rail News: Intermodal

BNSF moves more trailers, meets most service commitments for UPS

At Christmastime, BNSF Railway Co. had made it through the fall peak with a near peak performance for United Parcel Service. As of Dec. 24, the railroad — which handles half the shipper’s intermodal traffic — had moved more than 51 million packages, 99.9 percent of which UPS delivered on time. To handle the volume, the Class I moved 2,000 more trailers for the shipper compared with the 2004 fall peak.

BNSF had to overcome a few operational challenges to meet UPS’ traffic demands. Midway through the peak, a large boulder fell onto and damaged tracks in central Montana. BNSF maintenance-of-way crews quickly blasted apart the rock and repaired the rails to restore service.

Later in Havre, Mont., train crews had difficulty re-coupling cars in extreme cold weather after a defective car was uncoupled. Workers decided to split the train in two and both sections arrived in Portland, Ore., in time.

BNSF crews also tried to quickly repair broken rails to meet UPS’ service commitments.

“UPS actually called me halfway through the peak to tell me that the other railroads were having service difficulties due to broken rails [and] wanted to know why BNSF wasn’t having any broken rails,” said Jim Gordon, BNSF director-UPS, in a prepared statement. “Our maintenance-of-way crews and operations teams were so fast to fix any problems and get the trains moving again, to UPS it seemed like there were none to begin with.”

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More News from 1/10/2006