Chicago, the continent's biggest rail hub area and host to numerous intermodal terminals, was just starting on Feb. 3 to see freight operations dig out from this week's major winter storm.
Union Pacific Railroad alone has five intermodal facilities there and told customers early it expected to begin processing shipments there on Thursday evening.
"The Chicago area is slowly recovering from over two feet of snow and drifting conditions," UP said in a morning advisory. "We are currently working to clear our facilities of drifted snow and do not expect to begin processing at any of our yards or intermodal ramps in the Chicago area until later this evening." It also said "no intermodal trains will depart from the West Coast toward Chicago again today."
The massive storm canceled thousands of airline flights all across the country, disrupted roadways from Arizona to Connecticut and closed major businesses at midweek including automobile factories throughout the Midwest. President Obama has already declared an emergency in hard-hit Oklahoma, the first of what will surely be a number of presidential declarations to help send aid to affected states.
Railroads not only had to clear tracks and rail yards of ice and snow, but the weather prevented crews from moving along roads and forced carriers to deploy generators to operate signals over a large expanse of territory.
Canadian National Railway, which also has sizable operations in and around Chicago plus a major north-south route in the U.S. heartland, said two to three feet of snow fell on parts of its U.S. lines. Some shipments continued to face delays on Feb. 3, it said, but local switching and main line operations were open again.
-- Contact John D. Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.