UPRR Suspends Intermodal Service to Alleviate Backlog
The Union Pacific Railroad announced on Friday the 17th that the Chicago - Texas intermodal service will be temporarily suspended starting November 1st, so that equipment and crews may be used for alleviating the acute traffic jam on UP's network. Intermodal service to Mexico will not be affected and Dick Davidson, Union Pacific Corporation chairman, says the affected customers "have alternative means of transportation available to them."
This is the latest sign that UP is taking its problems seriously; it has earlier dropped the idea of transporting a few hundred containers by boat from the Pacific to the Atlantic Coast. Instead, UP has accepted help from other railways in moving cars off the network. Before the boat plans were announced, BNSF had offered to help but was turned down.
Mr Davidson said he was happy with progress so far and that trains are being moved off sidings.
Time will tell whether customers accept the plan, or decide that UP has lost their confidence. Some of those that are fed up have the option of asking BNSF to take over their shipping, and others may be able to use a smaller operator. Still others may be able to transfer shipping to trucks.
But others will not have these options; it is debateable whether these customers are better or worse off as a result of UP buying SP and other railroads. This debate will be important to the Surface Transportation Board's decision next spring whether or not to allow CSX and Norfolk Southern to split Conrail between them.
Read the Union Pacific Press Release