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Rail News: Intermodal

BNSF marks 100th 10,000-foot intermodal train; sets units-per-train and foreign ETD records


BNSF Railway Co. recently marked three milestones: its 100th 10,000-foot intermodal train, an international stack units-per-train record and an all-time-low daily number of foreign end-of-train devices (ETDs) on its system.

Last month, the railroad's 100th 10,000-foot intermodal train traveled from Long Beach, Calif., to Logistics Park-Chicago in Elwood, Ill. BNSF ran its first 10,000-foot train in May 2007.

The longer trains — which create capacity for other intermodal and non-intermodal trains on the southern Transcon line — typically run from southern California on-dock facilities to Chicago.

BNSF also set an international units-per-train record on consecutive days last month. On April 10 and 11, the railroad handled 261 and 263 stack units, respectively. The previous record of 259 units was set on March 15, 2007.

Finally, BNSF set a record of 96 foreign ETDs on its system May 13, achieving a goal of fewer than 100 ETDs per day for the first time.

A foreign ETD is owned by another railroad that's a member of the national agreement. The railroads compensate each other for the use of member devices.

In 2006, BNSF averaged more than 300 foreign ETDs daily; last year, the daily average dropped to 200 ETDs.