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Railroads grapple with delays as intermodal terminals open

Clearing out backlog could take days

A BNSF train heads to its next destination. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Extreme weather conditions are still impacting significant swaths of the U.S. rail network and causing delays. Other transportation infrastructure, including highways and the ports, is also feeling the strain, FreightWaves reported early Friday.

Union Pacific

Union Pacific’s (NYSE: UNP) intermodal terminals in the central and western U.S. were scheduled to be open Friday, according to a Thursday service announcement.

But the railroad is still digging out of the snow at its Chicago metroplex, which could impact operations over the next 48 to 60 hours, Union Pacific (UP) said Thursday.

UP is also experiencing heavy snowfall in the Little Rock and Pine Bluff areas of Arkansas, as well as icing in eastern Texas and northern Louisiana. Commercial power and water are “slowly returning” to impacted network areas in Texas, and UP reminded customers to clear privately owned track of ice and snow.

Ongoing road closures also are affecting UP’s ability to transport crews through the South, UP said. 

“Our employees are working around the clock to safely restore our entire network to full operations. Customers should continue to anticipate extended delays on shipments in the impacted areas until conditions improve and recovery efforts are complete,” UP said. 


Eastern operations are also facing the brunt of Old Man Winter, with snow, ice and freezing conditions causing delays from the South to the Northeast, CSX (NASDAQ: CSX) said in a Thursday service advisory.

CSX’s intermodal terminals are open and operating, but there are weather-related regional delays, it said. Furthermore, several TRANSFLO terminals are closed, experiencing delays or closing early. 

Closed terminals include those in Nashville, Tennessee; Richmond, Virginia; Wilmington, Delaware; and Baltimore. 

Kansas City Southern

Extreme winter conditions continue to disrupt Kansas City Southern’s (NYSE: KSU) operations both north and south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The weather has caused delays on both sides of the border and has significantly delayed cross-border north and southbound traffic,” Kansas City Southern (KCS) said in a Thursday service update.  

As adverse weather conditions move across the Meridian Speedway, from Shreveport, Louisiana, to points east including Jackson and Corinth in Mississippi, ice could impact switches and roads, making it dangerous for crews to get to work, KCS said.

Service restoration might not occur until next week, KCS said.

“We will continue to monitor the weather closely and will notify you of any significant changes for the worse,” KCS said. “Once the weather has improved and electricity has fully been restored, service to impacted areas can resume. We anticipate that this may not occur until next week, at the earliest, across the full KCS network. Once restored, please allow for delays until [the] backlog can be alleviated.”

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Related articles:

Supply chain struggles continue in frozen South

Freight railroads curtail operations as extreme winter weather blasts through

CSX, Union Pacific caution about bad winter weather

Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.