BNSF dispatching, headquarters kept running during Texas power failures

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FORT WORTH, Texas – Although BNSF Railway’s operations have been disrupted by the widespread snow, ice, and record-breaking cold that swept across the southern areas of its system and crippled the Texas power grid this week, the railroad’s headquarters and Network Operations Center dodged a bullet.

The headquarters campus, including the Network Operations Center and a satellite dispatching location established last year to protect operations during the pandemic, never lost power, a railroad spokesman says.

Millions of Texas residents and businesses lost power on Monday, and then later lost drinkable water service as well, as many of the state’s power plants and wind turbines succumbed to the cold.

But the BNSF headquarters, which also houses the Network Operations Center where dispatchers, crew callers, and locomotive directors work, never lost commercial power or public water service.

The Haslet Operations Support Building, where roughly half of the dispatchers have been working since the onset of the pandemic, didn’t lose power either. But it did have problems with water pressure that limited restroom operations. “We used the nearby Alliance yard for additional restroom facilities,” the spokesman says.

A heated restroom trailer arrived at Haslet yesterday, and although it was not needed it remains on site as a precaution.

BNSF provided headquarters and Haslet employees with food and bottled water.

The railroad also tested backup generators at headquarters and Haslet every four hours to ensure that they would work if called upon to provide power.

In hard-hit Texas, BNSF was forced to hold many trains this week due to widespread power outages and road closures that have affected the railroad’s ability to move train crews and other personnel.

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