The United States Class 1 says severe winter weather and flooding on parts of its 52,300 route-km network contributed to the fall in volumes. However, this decline was partially offset by a 4% increase in average revenue per wagon/unit as a result of increased rates and the favourable outcome of an arbitration hearing.

BNSF’s operating income for 2019 was $US 8.1bn, an increase of $US 271m. Net income was $US 5.48bn, a 5% increase compared with the $US 5.22bn reported in 2019. The railway’s operating ratio was 64.5%, down from 66.2% in 2018.

BNSF reported falls in volumes in all major segments, including consumer products (-5%), industrial products (-3%), agricultural products (-5%) and coal (-5%).

BNSF invested a total of $US 3.6bn on capital projects during the year, the majority of which was allocated towards maintenance and network expansion. The railway reports that operating expenses fell by 4% in 2019. Severe weather and flooding again impacted the result while lower volume-related costs contributed to the decline.

The railway’s fourth quarter 2019 results mirrored its annual performance, with revenues declining by 6% to $US 5.84bn and operating income increasing by 2% or $US 44m to $US 2.1bn.