Union Pacific is maintaining an embargo it imposed last week on all travel to and from Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin because of persistently severe winter weather.
“A powerful storm system will swing through the Central U.S. early this week, bringing heavy snow, freezing rain and ice to Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Weather embargo UP130022 is still in effect,” officials said in a customer advisory on Jan. 2.
In a consumer advisory on Dec. 29, UP stated that it anticipated the embargo to last for at least 14 days.
“In response to the recent severe weather events and arctic temperatures that have impacted our operations across Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, as well as the additional snow and ice accumulation forecast to hit the region over the next week, Union Pacific is implementing catastrophic embargo #UP130022 for all traffic in and out of the region,” UP said in its Dec. 29 customer advisory. “The embargo will allow us to maintain fluidity as this segment of the network works to move volumes impacted by the weather event.”
According to a consumer advisory, UP had to deal with frozen switches and snow drifts as high as 15 feet that blocked tracks in Iowa and Minnesota last month.
No other Class 1 railroad operating in Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Iowa has imposed such regional blanket embargoes, according to the Association of American Railroads.
Customers in areas hit by winter storms, which also include California, eastern Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and southern Missouri, were warned by UP to anticipate delays to persist.
Shippers, labor groups, and Surface Transportation Board members criticized Union Pacific’s growing reliance on embargoes to relieve congestion at a hearing in Washington last month.