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BNSF to operate contaminated rail under consent decree

Rail News Home BNSF Railway 9/4/2020 Rail News: BNSF Railway
image The consent decree affects BNSF property in northwest Montana.Photo – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Federal and state of Montana officials have proposed an agreement that would make BNSF Railway Co. responsible for maintaining and operating track that the railroad is accused of contaminating with asbestos.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Montana Department of Environmental Quality and BNSF proposed in a consent decree that the Class I would implement an operation and a maintenance plan, a health and safety plan and institutional controls to minimize risk to railroad workers and the surrounding community from low levels of asbestos within the Operable Unit 6 of the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site in Lincoln County, Montana.

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BNSF unveils newly painted locomotives to recognize 25th anniversary

Rail News Home BNSF Railway 8/27/2020 Rail News: BNSF Railway
image The General Electric ES44AC No. 5828 now displays a "25th Anniversary" label on the nose and side, as well as predecessor railroads that are part of BNSF's history.Photo – BNSF Railway Co.

BNSF Railway Co. recently unveiled the first of 10 locomotives with special paint schemes marking the railroad's 25th anniversary.

The General Electric ES44AC No. 5828 now displays a "25th Anniversary" label on the nose and side, as well as predecessor railroads that are part of BNSF's history: Burlington Northern; Santa Fe Railway; Great Northern; Northern Pacific; Spokane, Portland & Seattle; Colorado & Southern; and the Frisco, BNSF officials said in the Class I's Inside Track newsletter.

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BNSF honors customers for hazmat safety

Rail News Home BNSF Railway 8/18/2020 Rail News: BNSF Railway
image Companies receiving the award transported an established minimum of loaded tank cars of hazardous materials with zero non-accident releases during last year's full transportation cycle, BNSF officials said.Photo – bnsf.com

BNSF Railway Co. recently recognized 106 customers with its annual Product Stewardship Award for the safe transportation of hazardous materials by rail during 2019. 

Companies receiving the award transported an established minimum of loaded tank cars of hazardous materials with zero non-accident releases during last year's full transportation cycle, BNSF officials said in a press release.

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BNSF's Q2 revenue tumbled 22 percent on lower volumes

Rail News Home BNSF Railway 8/10/2020 Rail News: BNSF Railway
image BNSF Railway Co. reported second-quarter 2020 revenue declined 22 percent to $4.6 billion from $5.9 billion, while operating income fell 14 percent to $1.7 billion from $2 billion during the same quarter last year. The Class I attributed the revenue and operating income declines primarily to an 18 percent decrease in volume. In addition, average revenue per car fell 5 percent during the quarter driven by a one-time favorable outcome of an arbitration hearing recognized in Q1 2019 and lower fuel surcharges, BNSF officials said in a financial statement posted on the railroad's website. BNSF's Q2 2020 net income tumbled 15 percent to $1.1 billion from $1.3 billion a year ago. Operating expenses fell 26 percent during the quarter, to $2.87 billion from $3.88 billion. The decrease reflects lower volume-related costs, productivity improvements and lower costs related to improved weather conditions. The Class I posted a Q2 operating ratio of 61.1 percent, down from 64.8 percent a year ago. BNSF's volume decreases during the quarter were primarily the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which negative affected volumes beginning late in Q1 and continued through Q2. The decrease in volume during the quarter also resulted from the following:
• Consumer product volume fell 12 percent primarily due to lower international intermodal and automotive volumes due to the pandemic.
• Industrial product volumes fell 26 percent, primarily due to a pandemic-related decrease in U.S. industrial production and reduced demand in the energy sector.
• Agricultural products volumes decreased 7 percent, primarily due to the pandemic's impact on ethanol and related commodities and due to lower net exports.
• Coal volume plummeted 34 percent, primarily due to lower electricity demand driven by the pandemic and a mild winter, as well as low natural gas prices and plant retirements.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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BNSF tests autostrads to improve intermodal operations

Rail News Home BNSF Railway 7/16/2020 Rail News: BNSF Railway
image The autostrad uses navigation and positioning technology to drive to the portal and pick up the container.Photo – bnsf.com

BNSF Railway Co. has begun testing two automated straddle carriers at its Logistics Park Kansas City Intermodal Facility (LPKC).

The "autostrads" are being used to improve the safety and efficiency of the Class I's intermodal operations. BNSF is the first railroad in the world to use "autostrads" that carry containers larger than 40 feet and the first U.S. rail carrier to implement the technology at an inland intermodal facility, BNSF officials said in a website post.

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