According to today's USDA Grain Transportation Report, on October 28, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) ordered the four U.S. Class I carriers—BNSF Railway (BNSF), CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, and Union Pacific Railroad (UP)—to continue reporting additional service metrics until May 5, 2023.

In May, following a hearing on urgent issues in freight rail service, STB required railroads to provide weekly performance data, biweekly service progress reports, and monthly employment data for a 6-month period. In extending the reporting requirement, STB noted the four carriers have met some of their 6-month targets to improve service, but failed to meet others.

For example, BNSF has targeted an on-time performance metric for grain unit trains of 75 %, but only 55 % of its grain unit trains were on time in the week ending October 14. (Pre-pandemic levels were at 77 percent.) Similarly, UP has targeted a trip-plan compliance metric for grain unit trains of 81 %, but only 61 % of grain unit trains met that goal in the week ending October 14. (Pre-pandemic levels were at 90 %.) Given these mixed results, STB stated that data collection and monitoring were still needed, particularly when compared to pre- pandemic 2019 levels and continued shipper complaints.

The order can be viewed here.

Read the full USDA Grain Transportation Reporthere.