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Rail News: Intermodal

BNSF's L.A. intermodal facility sets back-to-back daily lift records


Earlier this month, Burlington Northern Santa Fe's Hobart intermodal facility in Los Angeles set back-to-back daily lift records — an unusual feat for a non-fall-peak month.

On May 7, the 198-acre facility completed 4,522 lifts, an 18 percent increase compared with the same 2003 day's lifts. The next day, Hobart recorded 4,585 lifts, a 20 percent increase compared with the same day last year. The tallies represent a completed lift every 20 seconds during a 48-hour period.

"We don't usually surpass former years' volumes until about the third quarter," said Chuck Potempa, BNSF director of Pacific Southwest hub and facilities operations, in a prepared statement. "In anticipation of continued traffic demands, the center is prepared to make adjustments, such as stacking containers to open up space, adding strip tracks and adding staff."

The container traffic increase reflects import growth, especially products from Asia, BNSF officials believe. About 60 percent of containers handled at Hobart are imports.

Last year, the facility completed 1.2 million lifts; this year, Hobart is projected to complete 1.35 million lifts, an 11 percent increase. To date, intermodal volume in the L.A. area is up 17 percent or 371,000 lifts compared with similar 2003 data, according to BNSF.

Hobart includes 17 overhead cranes, six side-loaders and 150 yard tractors, and employs 1,500 people.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/21/2004