BNSF, UP operations mostly back to normal in Nebraska after flooding

April 10, 2019

Things are mostly back to normal for Nebraska’s two main freight railroads.

Both BNSF Railway and Union Pacific have reopened all their tracks in Nebraska and the surrounding area with the exception of lines that go from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Kansas City.

Within the past week, BNSF opened the Lincoln-Kansas City portion of its St. Joseph Subdivision as well as a line from O’Neill to Sioux City and one from Columbus to Lincoln.

The only track still out of service is one going from Council Bluffs to Pacific Junction, Iowa. However, BNSF said in a Friday service advisory to customers that it hopes to have that line open by this weekend.

Union Pacific also said that its only remaining flood-related track outage in the area is on its line from Council Bluffs to Kansas City, although a map on its website lists track from Fremont to Lincoln as being out of service.

Officials from the railroad could not be reached for comment.

Both railroads said they have made significant progress in the past couple of weeks after overflowing rivers in mid-March left miles of track underwater in several areas of the state.

“Where water levels have receded, crews are engaged in various repair projects in multiple locations,” BNSF said in its service advisory. “As we have reported, the work includes bridge reconstruction, which is taking place on our Omaha Subdivision, as well as the installation of new signals and ballast replenishment.”

“We are intensely focused on recovery and monitor our progress daily. Damage assessments and repairs are in progress on our rail line between Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Kansas City, Kansas,” Kenny Rocker, UP’s executive vice president for marketing and sales, said in the Friday service update.