Forum News Service, Published February 27 2014
Weather blamed for Northstar commuter rail delays in MinnesotaST. PAUL - BNSF Railway Co. officials blame unusually harsh winter weather for delays in Minnesota's lone rail commuter line.
Assistant BNSF Vice President Brian Sweeney told the House Transportation Committee on Thursday that Northstar had a good record of being on time until December. Trains have been late many times in the past couple of months.
"The winter conditions created the havoc," Sweeney said.
In recent days, he added, the passenger trains between downtown Minneapolis and Big Lake have run on time.
BNSF provides the tracks for Northstar, which is operated by Metro Transit.
"We need to do what we can, obviously, to restore confidence," Sweeney said.
Sweeney disputed claims that oil trains and other freights have delayed passenger trains. He said passenger trains have priority on the line.
Transportation Finance Chairman Frank Hornstein, D-Minneapolis, said he expects the trains to continue running on time or BNSF may see itself in front of his committee again.