Railroads rerouting grain, fertilizer, freight because of floods

A railroad official confirms most east and westbound trains in Nebraska and Kansas are being re-routed because of flooding, delaying grain and fertilizer shipments. Andy Williams with BNSF Railway says, “We are diverting freight down through, in same cases, starting in Colorado, going down through southern Kansas, even all the way down south as Oklahoma to get freight moved east. The same thing on the way back.”

BNSF Platte River bridges damaged by flooding

Williams says flooding has affected all railroads, and they are working together using what tracks are open to get freight moving again.  With flood waters receding in Nebraska and in the Kansas City area, He’s optimistic. “We’re monitoring our tracks there, and some of them are underwater, but just because they’re underwater doesn’t necessarily mean there (are) significant washouts. When that water has receded, we will be able to go in and inspect and get those lines up and running pretty soon.”

BNSF crew evaluates damage near Fortescue, MO

Williams tells Brownfield parts of eastern Nebraska are embargoed now because tracks are under water and because they just can’t get to those customers. “But other grain, we’re moving fine. We are re-routing and moving to locations, in some cases using other railroad tracks that don’t belong to us but in most cases, we are using our tracks and are able to re-route and get to markets.”

Williams says there is also some flooding affecting their tracks near St. Louis along the Mississippi River. 

Many Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri communities cannot be accessed by train yet.  Williams is asking people to be careful as there are more trains traveling through communities that don’t normally get this much traffic.

All photos courtesy of BNSF Railway.

Listen to Brownfield’s interview with Andy Williams here:

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