BNSF: Cold, not oil trains, delaying Northstar Commuter Rail

The BNSF Railway says cold weather is to blame for delays on the Northstar Commuter Rail line that runs from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis.

For the last two months, 12 percent of Northstar trains have been delayed. Normally, only 2 percent arrive late.

BNSF lobbyist Brian Sweeney told a legislative panel Thursday that like other forms of transportation, railroads have trouble when it's cold.

"That plays havoc with train operations," Sweeney said. "The cold weather affects track. It affects equipment. It affects people."

Sweeney says contrary to some media reports, freight trains carrying oil from North Dakota have no effect on the delays. He noted that commuter rail service in Chicago has faced a similar increase in delays this winter.

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