CP must outline plans to fix U.S. backlog

American rail regulators have issued an order requiring Canadian Pacific Railway and BNSF Railway Co. to submit plans outlining how they intend to resolve a backlog of unfilled grain car orders in the United States.


In a ruling dated June 20, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board ordered BNSF and CP to submit plans by June 27, outlining steps that each railway will take to address the backlog of grain car orders on their U.S. networks.


In addition, the two railways have been ordered to provide weekly status updates that provide details on how much grain is being moved.


As part of these weekly updates, the railways will be required to provide state-by-state data on the number of grain car orders outstanding, the number of new cars ordered each week, the number of orders filled, the number cancelled by shippers, the number cancelled by the railways and the average delays in all outstanding car orders.


In addition, CP will be required to submit a plan for ensuring a “fluid and reliable interchange of loaded and empty cars” with Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad Inc., a regional rail carrier based at Rapid City, South Dakota. RCP&E, a subsidiary of the short-line and regional railway group Genesee & Wyoming, hauls freight on more than 1,000 kilometres of track in South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Minnesota.


“Although data submitted by both railroads (BNSF and CP) indicates some initial progress toward reducing their grain car order backlogs and grain car delays, the (STB) remains very concerned about the limited time period until the next harvest, the large quantities of grain yet to be moved and the railroads’ paths toward meeting their respective commitments,” the STB ruling stated.