Friday, August 15, 2014

Oil Trains Delay Fruit, Passengers; Skagit County Fast-Tracks Shell


 Cold Train cars have taken fruit directly to East Coast markets.

Coal trains kill Cold Trains: Fruit delivery service shuts down as rail congestion heats up

Puget Sound Business Journal  Aug 7, 2014   By

Congestion from coal and oil trains seems to be the key factor forcing closure of a prominent express rail service that carries Washington fruit and produce to East Coast markets.

Cold Train on Thursday announced it is shutting down its express service from Quincy, Wash. because restrictions in the BNSF Railway schedule changed delivery guarantees from three days to six days.

“BNSF’s business decision to direct its resources away from Cold Train resulted in millions of dollars in operating losses and millions of dollars in capital investment losses, both of which are simply unsustainable,” said a Cold Train release.

The release connected the closure directly to coal and oil shipments by BNSF more here

Oil-Laden Freight Trains Delaying Amtrak, Commuter Trains Across U.S.

The number of rail cars carrying crude oil across the United States has been steadily increasing.
The number of rail cars carrying crude oil across the United States has been steadily increasing. Data from EIA, AAR, news reports.

The resulting sharp increase in rail traffic doesn’t just threaten communities along the line that are unprepared for their explosive cargo — a threat that the US Department of Transportation recently issued new rules to address. Growing freight volumes are also delaying millions of passengers aboard Amtrak or commuter trains, most of which share tracks with ever more freight trains. Nationwide, the number of delayed Amtrak trains has increased by almost 75 percent. As Tanya Snyder reported yesterday, that results from a court ruling that left Amtrak powerless against freight train interference. Around Chicago, hub of the continent’s railroad network, delays have multiplied on the region’s busiest commuter rail line – a Metra line operated by BNSF, which is also North Dakota’s biggest freight hauler..... read more here

Shell's Washington oil-by-rail plan gets streamlined permitting

Reuters   By Kristen Hays   Aug 15, 2014

Royal Dutch Shell Plc's (RDSa.L) proposal to move by rail up to 60,000 barrels per day of North American crude to its Washington state refinery will not have to undergo a lengthy environmental review, local planners said this week.

The plan still awaits multiple permit approvals before construction can start, but the Skagit County Planning and Development Services division's decision that a full-fledged environmental review is not required eliminates what could have been a lengthy delay of up to a year.

Shell's project could now start up by early 2015, but the company has not disclosed more here

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