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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BNSF's prevention programs help control freight-damage claims


Last year, Burlington Northern Santa Fe had the lowest freight-damage-related claim payout ratio among Class Is for the third-straight year, according to Association of American Railroads data.

BNSF paid 22 cents in claims per $100 in revenue, 33 percent less than the industry average of 33 cents. And BNSF's 2002 damage-free ratio (claims paid compared with units moved) was about 99.9 percent for all traffic.

BNSF's Resource Protection Solutions Team manages a number of programs designed to prevent freight damage and theft, and minimize lading exceptions and claims, according to a prepared statement.

A Police Solutions Team enforces the railroad's zero tolerance policy for trespassers on BNSF property; a Protection Solutions Team traces and protects high-risk or high-value shipments through an asset-tracking program; and a Load and Ride Solutions Team seeks to prevent unsafe loading, damage and over-speed impact through loading-assistance and ride-quality monitoring programs.

BNSF also strives to reduce freight damage by running more premium and unit trains, implementing block-swapping operations, controlling over-speed yard and train impacts, conducting locomotive event-recorder reviews and engineer training programs, and administering a train-derailment analysis and prevention program.

To improve ride quality, BNSF uses articulated, low-profile flat cars and ride-cushioning devices, and repairs or retires defective equipment.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/8/2003