Another morning of Northstar headaches have passengers questioning Metro Transit

  • Article by: Tim Harlow , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 11, 2014 - 9:19 PM

Disabled freight trains forced four of five inbound runs to be called off. Passengers questioned Metro Transit’s planning and sharing of info.

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  • Comments

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clnorthFeb. 11, 14 9:26 PM

This is just a government entity doing what government does best, wasting money. Sad to believe some people think it is a good idea to have government making decisions about our health care.

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JDobbertFeb. 12, 1412:17 PM

This is what happens when you rely on private industry (BNSF) not to interfere with the provision of services to individuals. Had MetroTransit been able to fund it's own rail line instead of "sharing" a line with BNSF, there wouldn't have been broken down BNSF trains blocking the tracks. Before you complain about "government wasting money" or being ineffective, rememeber that this is a public/private partnership and that it was the private business who screwed the riders by not clearing the tracks.

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berrymomFeb. 12, 14 6:32 PM

I drive over the tracks between BL and ER every morning. Never used to see trains unless they were moving. Now I see them EVERY morning. This has been going on since last fall. Most mornings there are two trains - one on either side of the road. One morning last week there were THREE trains parked. Sounds like BNSF has a new excuse with the disabled freight trains. I call it greed - trying to milk as much traffic as possible on existing rail. They are close to 50% over capacity. It's not just Northstar that's been victimized; the Amtrak Empire Builder has also fallen victim to over scheduling. I wonder how much BNSF received on the contract they have with the shale oil drillers in ND? THAT would be an interesting investigation.

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keeleysonFeb. 13, 14 7:03 AM

Uh...surprise! BNSF owns the rails. They are a business. They have to make a profit. When they make a profit they can pay their employees. The government agencies failed to plan adequately for this eventuality. The inadequacy of government becomes more evident each day. Why do we let these people work for us? I just dunno.

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ahblidFeb. 13, 1411:57 AM

keeleyson wrote: "Uh...surprise! BNSF owns the rails. They are a business. They have to make a profit. When they make a profit they can pay their employees."

Uh...surprise! BNSF has a contract that requires them to do everything possible to run Northstar on time! A contract is a legally binding document and this one requires that they run those trains on time. Heck, the trains are even run by BNSF employees.

I'll be the first to agree that government doesn't get everything right all the time. But except for the delay that prompted this story which was an unusual and unforeseeable incident, the delays to Northstar fall squarely on BNSF's shoulders.

They have taken on too much freight recently in their quest to maximize profits to the point where they have exceeded their capacity to run their own trains on time, much less run Amtrak & Northstar on time. And both have contracts that require BSNF to make every reasonable effort to run the trains on time. Over selling your capacity is NOT making a reasonable effort!

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railroadFeb. 13, 14 6:54 PM

BNSF should be fined heavily whenever they hold up commuters either in the Twin Cities or Amtrak... They signed a contract make them honor it or pay up

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