In a move to recover from disappointing financial results in 2014, BNSF Railway Co. (BNSF) will launch expedited and standard intermodal services in September on its critical "Northern Region" linking the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, the company said today.
The expanded service will allow Fort Worth-based BNSF to offer domestic intermodal customers more frequent trips than competing railroads, the company claims. The service connects Chicago and Minneapolis in the east and Seattle and Portland in the west.
Beginning Sept. 14, the new schedule will feature expedited service—averaging 800 miles per day—seven days a week for westbound traffic and six days a week for eastbound traffic. BNSF's standard service will move freight an average of 600 miles per day.
BNSF says its trains will run one more day per week than its competitors', and that it will be the only rail operator offering expedited service to and from Seattle.
"From 2013 through the end of this year, BNSF will have invested nearly $3.5 billion in our Northern Region to maintain and improve our rail network to better serve our customers' transportation needs," said Katie Farmer, BNSF consumer products group vice president, in a statement.
The Northern Region, the linchpin of BNSF's 32,500-mile network, came under severe pressure during the brutal winter of 2014 as terrible weather snarled operations at the industry's hub in Chicago and caused a ripple effect across the railroad's system. BNSF was also hamstrung by the surge in demand for crude-oil shipments that crowded out movements of other commodities and led to a customer backlash.
The announcement of the new service comes three months after the company's owner—Warren E. Buffett, chairman and CEO of Omaha-based conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc.—slammed BNSF for delivering weaker earnings than its main western rival, Union Pacific Corp.