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Published August 22, 2014, 09:21 AM

BNSF, CP catch up on old-crop past-dues

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway reports it is getting caught up on old-crop past-due train car orders, but there are significant new-crop orders still past-due.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway reports it is getting caught up on old-crop past-due train car orders, but there are significant new-crop orders still past-due.

In an Aug. 18 report to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, BNSF reported 2,671 cars past due, with an average wait of 17 days per car. About 989 cars were more than 21 days past the want date.

Of the remaining past dues, North Dakota accounted for 47 percent — 1,262 cars late at 42 stations, waiting an average of 19.6 days per car. The state topped the nation with 596 new past dues, but also had 323 new orders. Montana had 599 cars late on BNSF, averaging 19.1 days late. Minnesota past-dues were 221, with an average wait of 22.3 days — the longest among the states. South Dakota was down to 132 cars late, an average of only 7.2 days per late car.

In a separate weekly podcast on Aug. 18, John Miller, BNSF agricultural group vice president, reported turns of shuttle trains (110-cars, special rates and unloading rules) were up to 2.4 per month overall, while Pacific Northwest shuttles had improved to 2.5 per month. That’s about the level elevators say is economical. Miller said BNSF is getting close to mobbing all old-crop orders.

Meanwhile, Canadian Pacific Railway’s Robert Johnson, senior vice president for operations, reported his railroad had delivered 441 cars to the Rapid City Pierre & Eastern Railroad, a shortline railroad it sold in June, compared with the 500 the RCP&E had been expecting. The railroad had 1,072 new requests and fulfilled 1,901 grain orders during the week, including those to the RCP&E.

CP fulfillment was down slightly in North Dakota, because of an increase in cars offline.

The company still had 21,518 open requests, now with an average age of 12.7 weeks, or three months. The railroad reports 57 net locomotives on the RCP&E. The railroad had fewer than 50 locomotives on the RCP&E in the first week of August, just when the state’s winter wheat crop was getting started.

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