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Western Railroad Discussion > Shorter BNSF trains through Fort Madison IA?


Date: 06/22/22 10:09
Shorter BNSF trains through Fort Madison IA?
Author: Lackawanna484

I often have a Virtual Railfan camera on while I'm working, and it seems like BNSF may be running shorter trains through Fort Madison on the Chicago to Kansas City line. In the past, every fourth or fifth westbound train  would block the crossing into the park as it changed crews  two miles+ ahead.  That seems to be happening much less often now days.

What is happening is a lot of locomotive movement, both eastbound and westbound.  Not unusual to have 5-6 units on the head end, 3-4 units midtrain, and 2 on the rear. I'm sure many are off line.  A few 8-10 unit power moves, in both directions.

I wonder if the shorter trains are an indicator of a slowing economy, or continued slower activity in the Pacific ports? Fewer empty boxes to be shipped back to China.



Date: 06/22/22 11:24
Re: Shorter BNSF trains through Fort Madison IA?
Author: radar

Maybe some of the testimony given at the STB hearings, about the folly of super long trains, finally sunk in.  Nah, that couldn't be it.



Date: 06/22/22 12:43
Re: Shorter BNSF trains through Fort Madison IA?
Author: wyeth

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I wonder if the shorter trains are an indicator of
> a slowing economy, or continued slower activity in
> the Pacific ports? Fewer empty boxes to be shipped
> back to China.

My unprofessional opinion, but I sincerely think it's this one.  I don't think any of the railroads are intentionally reducing train size, for that purpose specifically, especially since crew shortages are still rampant.  However, since the beginning of spring, I've noticed an increasing number of trains not operating as large as they once were, particularly intermodal and manifest trains (ie trains that are a good indication of consumer spending and economic activity).



Date: 06/22/22 13:39
Re: Shorter BNSF trains through Fort Madison IA?
Author: pbouzide

wyeth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lackawanna484 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > I wonder if the shorter trains are an indicator
> of
> > a slowing economy, or continued slower activity
> in
> > the Pacific ports? Fewer empty boxes to be
> shipped
> > back to China.
>
> My unprofessional opinion, but I sincerely think
> it's this one.  I don't think any of the
> railroads are intentionally reducing train size,
> for that purpose specifically, especially since
> crew shortages are still rampant.  However, since
> the beginning of spring, I've noticed an
> increasing number of trains not operating as large
> as they once were, particularly intermodal and
> manifest trains (ie trains that are a good
> indication of consumer spending and economic
> activity).

Hold one to combine it with the next one then. Crew shortage resolved through market share shrinkage. </sarcasm>



Date: 06/22/22 14:07
Re: Shorter BNSF trains through Fort Madison IA?
Author: DevalDragon

Recession is coming.



Date: 06/22/22 17:05
Re: Shorter BNSF trains through Fort Madison IA?
Author: funnelfan

Not only have I been seeing a lot of shorter trains on BNSF's Lakeside Sub in eastern Washington. There has been many light power moves, but only 3~6 units at a time. Some of those are for work trains, but there have been wayyy more than normal.

Posted from Android

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/22/22 17:06 by funnelfan.



Date: 06/23/22 07:16
Re: Shorter BNSF trains through Fort Madison IA?
Author: ntharalson

On a trip to Kansas City last week, I did notice the trains seemed shorter.  Given the crew issues BNSF is having, it seems possible volume is slowing.  However, it may also be possible that BNSF has figured out PSR is not customer friendly.  I'll give you that's a remote possibility, but it is a possibility.  

Nick Tharalson,
Marion, IA



Date: 06/23/22 08:38
Re: Shorter BNSF trains through Fort Madison IA?
Author: millerdc

Some of these trains are going to be considerably shorter after Jan 1st when UP takes over the Schneider contract.  The orange containers go away.  Wonder if this will help of hurt BNSF financials?



Date: 06/23/22 09:18
Re: Shorter BNSF trains through Fort Madison IA?
Author: dan

Sun Kink season do they keep trains lighter?



Date: 06/23/22 16:07
Re: Shorter BNSF trains through Fort Madison IA?
Author: dcfbalcoS1

           I vote for a combination of all of the above ( or below ) reasons. Government medling in business has always failed. High fuel ( and other inflation ) prices causes all this to slow down sooner or later ( usually later when morons finally realize they are broke ). And all those other reasons no one wants to talk about until later. . . . . . . ."Oh my GOSH, what happened . . . . When? . . . . .  you know how always goes.           :)



Date: 06/23/22 22:01
Re: Shorter BNSF trains through Fort Madison IA?
Author: ts1457

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ...  A few 8-10 unit power moves, in both
> directions.

I hope not on the same day.
 



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