Skip to main content

North Dakota rail bottleneck to last at least through month's end


The trainloads of crude oil transported from North Dakota to refineries across the nation will continue to snag westbound Amtrak passenger service until at least Feb. 28.

Forum News Service reports the popular Empire Builder will continue to bypass Grand Forks and Devils Lake in North Dakota through the end of the month. The Associated Press reported that passengers in those cities are being bused to either Minot or to Fargo to reconnect to westbound or eastbound trains.

The Empire Builder operates on tracks it leases from BNSF, which attributes the delays and schedule changes to increased rail traffic and higher cargo volume. Cold weather and ice on the tracks have also contributed to delays. NPR News found that delays — sometimes up to 18 hours — have become routine on the route between Portland, Seattle and Chicago, with trains on the Empire Builder route between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest often delayed for hours.

In addition to North Dakota, the route crosses Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Montana and Idaho.

The Seattle Times did a spot check using Amtrak’s online train-status reporting tool and found the Empire Builder that was scheduled to arrive in Seattle at 10:25 a.m. last Thursday was running 10 hours and 55 minutes late and had aew projected arrival time of 9:20 p.m.

BNSF officials have said that the railroad is investing heavily to expand capacity to help ease the bottleneck.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild win battle of NHL's hottest teams, extend winning streak to six

Kirill Kaprizov delivered a shootout winner to take down the Maple Leafs.

Eric Kendricks

Vikings downgrade Eric Kendricks to out against Lions

The Vikings have also activated Michael Pierce from injured reserve.

u.s. attorney

Minnesotan sentenced after assaulting man with baseball bat

Marshall Wayne Boshey was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Target store

Target's gift card discount is back, but for this weekend only

The fine print: for Target Circle members only (but membership is free).

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Minneapolis teen arrested in St. Cloud after fleeing police in stolen vehicle

The vehicle was stolen in a car-jacking in Minneapolis Thursday.

snow, blowing snow

Winter storm warnings issued with heavy snow set to slam MN

Parts of northern Minnesota could see more than a foot of snow, but there won't be much in the Twin Cities.

D'Angelo Russell

With KAT out, Timberwolves can't upset Nets

D'Angelo Russell stepped up but couldn't overcome Brooklyn's firepower.

Everson Griffen Vikings dot com

Everson Griffen confirms he has bipolar disorder

"I’ve been running from it a long time. I’m not ashamed of it anymore.”

Angela Renee Jones, St. Cloud murder suspect

St. Cloud suspect now charged in two local murder cases

Both murders happened within a day of each other in June.