Record Floods in Midwest
Record Midwest Floods Force Embargoes
Announcement Number: CN2019-16
To Our Customers,
As you are probably aware from numerous news reports, the Midwest has been hit hard by severe weather and record floods. Unfortunately, this series of weather events has caused significant damage to our rail network, which has made it necessary to issue embargoes for traffic originating, destined or moving through our network.
Numerous Union Pacific subdivisions and corridors continue to be out of service due to flooding and track washouts. The immediate effects of these storms include the following subdivisions:
- Omaha Subdivision (Missouri Valley, Iowa, to Fremont, Nebraska)
- Blair Subdivision (Fremont, Nebraska, to Missouri Valley, Iowa)
- Columbus Subdivision (Fremont, Nebraska, to Grand Island, Nebraska)
- Lincoln Subdivision (Valley, Nebraska, to Lincoln, Nebraska)
- Falls City Subdivision (Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Kansas City, Kansas)
Due to widespread flooding across our network, we have very limited reroute capability. As a result, Union Pacific is issuing embargoes. Because of the large number of impacted stations, please refer to the published embargo notices for the specific parameters.
Additional operational impacts may include delayed movement of manifest, bulk and intermodal trains through the impacted areas, including trains holding at strategic locations until service can be restored.
We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we work through the vast impact of these weather and flooding events. We will continue to post updates on changing conditions as information is available.
To view the latest map of the flooding impact to our network and the best practices to follow during flooding events, please visit our Flood Planning and Recovery web page.
Tucumcari Subdivision Reopens
Union Pacific has reopened service over the Tucumcari Subdivision where we previously had an outage associated with weather and a derailment. Customers should expect continued delays over the next 48 hours as we begin to move traffic over the previously impacted area.
Midwest flooding grinds rail service to a halt
(excerpted from www.freightwaves.com)
March 18, 2019 Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist
Historic, catastrophic flooding continues in the Midwest after major snow melt and heavy rain last week. Some of the worst conditions are in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, including Omaha. People and animals have been trapped by high water; bridges, roads and rails have been washed away. With neighborhoods practically underwater; homes, farms and ranches ruined; and lives at risk, the National Guard has come to the rescue. As recovery continues, transportation and freight movement – especially by rail – are suffering major disruptions.
Off the Rails
The flooding has caused significant damage to the Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP) rail network, which has led to embargoes for traffic originating, destined or moving through its network. On March 17, 2019 the company announced that the following subdivisions and corridors will continue to be out of service:
- Omaha Subdivision (Missouri Valley, Iowa to Fremont, Nebraska)
- Blair Subdivision (Fremont, Nebraska to Missouri Valley, Iowa)
- Columbus Subdivision (Fremont, Nebraska to Grand Island, Nebraska)
- Lincoln Subdivision (Valley, Nebraska to Lincoln, Nebraska)
- Falls City Subdivision (Council Bluffs, Iowa to Kansas City, Kansas)
Because the flooding across Union Pacific’s network is widespread, affecting a large number of stations, there is very limited rerouting capability. Specific parameters for embargo notices can be found here. Additional operational impacts may include delayed movement of manifest, bulk and intermodal trains through the impacted areas, as well as trains holding at strategic locations until service can be restored. To view the latest map of the flooding impact to the network, in addition to the best practices to follow during flooding events, visit Union Pacific’s Flood Planning and Recovery website.
BNSF Railroad, owned by Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK), also has several subdivisions currently out of service in many of the same areas as Union Pacific. BNSF’s North Region includes Nebraska and western Iowa, as well as other states devastated by a blizzard the day before the flooding began last week. Since March 15, BNSF crews have been assessing main line locations impacted by the flooding, and are making necessary repairs where possible in order to restore service. With the current extent of the flooding, service outages may continue in some locations for an extended period.
According to the company’s latest customer letter, the number of total trains held increased significantly late last week. While key performance indicators were positive versus the previous week, velocity and terminal dwell remain below average levels from March of last year.