Copyright 2002, Traffic World Magazine
In order for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to grow, it must redesign its carload network and shortlines need to participate in the undertaking, BNSF Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Rose said (See story page 36).
"Essentially, our carload network redesign is an effort to allocate carload resources more effectively among our interline partners, our shortline partners, transloaders and shippers," Rose stated at the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association Annual Meeting in Orlando on April 30.
The key elements of the BNSF's network redesign are:
-- Re-marketing of unprofitable traffic.
-- Launching target trains linking key growth regions of the BNSF network to improve car velocity and consistency.
-- Guaranteeing carload service in key lanes.
-- Truck-rail transloading and other shortline channel partner initiatives to consolidate pick-up and delivery activities.
-- Developing new gathering and distribution networks.
-- Rationalizing the hundreds of stations BNSF serves to focus resources on a core system permits more service options that make shippers more competitive.
But it's BNSF's line rationalization program that will provide shippers with the most opportunities, he said. "We will promote a higher level of service and give more attention to branch-line shippers by enabling large and small railroads to focus on what they do best. We run unit trains to and from high throughput terminals and carload traffic over high speed, high volume main lines and through automated state-of-the-art classification terminals. Our shortline partners potentially can do most everything else."
BNSF has targeted 1,000 miles of line rationalization for 2002; another 3,000 miles are under review for possible outsourcing in 2003 and beyond, he said.
Rose's comments, and those of other Class 1 CEO's speaking at the conference, were encouraging to shortline operators. "All the Class 1s have made it clear that they want our business and they want to help us go out and get more," said shortline operator Bob Bailey.