Responding to Major Winter Weather Impacting the BNSF Network

Jan 12, 2024

BNSF is responding to significant winter weather moving across the Northern Corridor and central core of our network. Heavy snow, strong winds, blizzard conditions and freezing temperatures are expected across portions of our North Region, stretching from the Pacific Northwest, across the Central Plains to Chicago, Illinois. Wind chills as low as -60 degrees below zero are expected in portions of Western Montana tonight. Further east, blizzard conditions and up to a foot of snow are expected in the Chicago area through tomorrow. Frigid temperatures will also remain across the Plains through the beginning of next week.

As reported, we experienced a derailment near Orin, Wyoming, approximately 16 miles southeast of Douglas, Wyoming. Teams are working to restore the derailment area as quickly as possible and trains are currently being rerouted around the impacted location, but restoration will be impacted by the extreme temperatures this evening. 

While taking all necessary safety precautions to work in these conditions and keep trains moving, BNSF crews are actively responding to service interruption locations and addressing issues. In advance of the storm, each of our affected operating divisions implemented its respective Winter Action Plan to ensure that our workforce can work safely in these conditions and that we can continue to keep trains moving as efficiently as possible. BNSF’s Customer Support team has activated our Division Recovery Process for both our Twin Cities and Chicago Divisions to further support our operations teams in addressing any potential service issues. Additional personnel have been deployed at our Network Operations Center (NOC) and we will maintain an around-the-clock response team to manage the deployment of additional personnel and resources to the impacted regions, including snow removal equipment and “snow coach” trains to reposition crews. Train length restrictions have been implemented and the number of trains being held is elevated until conditions improve and operations can safely resume.

Wind advisories for portions of our Southern Transcon in the Southwest are also in effect with wind gusts up to 60 MPH today.

Customers with shipments designated to move to and from the Pacific Northwest and Chicago and/or along our Southern Transcon route between Southern California and the Midwest should expect delays through next week.

If you are a customer in need of assistance, we encourage you to utilize the Message Us feature on the BNSF Customer Portal (must be registered/logged in to access).