Rail shipments of crude and refined products fell last week to the lowest level since October 2013 after a derailment shut a track in Illinois for four days.
Petroleum shipments by rail have fallen since last summer as plummeting crude prices have caused the biggest slowdown of oil drilling on record. BNSF Railway Co. shut its mainline near the town of Galena, Illinois, from March 5-9 (2015) after a derailment, causing delays and reroutings.
Last week’s shipments were down 25 percent from the peak of more than 17,000 carloads set the week of December 13, 2014. Petroleum traffic on rail lines more than doubled from 2011 to last year, as booming oil production from North Dakota and Canada overwhelmed pipelines and forced shippers to look for alternative transportation methods.
BNSF, the largest crude-by-rail shipper in the U.S., shut its mainline after a train carrying 103 cars of crude oil derailed and caught fire. The closing caused delays of up to four days and forced BNSF to reroute some trains, the company said in an online advisory March 8. BNSF can’t say for certain whether the shutdown is the cause of the lower numbers, company spokesman Mike Trevino said by e-mail.Traffic on the line is now back to normal, according to BNSF.
No mention of Amtrak in the article. A four-delay for Amtrak in that part of the country is probably the norm.