Customer Story: Reconfiguring 300 Cars

Providing complex solutions for our customers requires immense attention to detail. Our Butte, Anaconda & Pacific (BAP) Railway team demonstrated this best when a multinational oil and gas company called Patriot Rail & Ports with a special request. Their company needed to swap out and reassemble their current fleet of trains due to a few factors, including regulations. Our BAP team received two unit trains totaling 300 cars of different commodities and types. The client needed these reconfigured into multiple trains. Some of which could only contain specific car types or numbers. They also required the reconfiguration done within three weeks.

With such a tight deadline, there was no room in the schedule for error. At the BAP, our Operations Manager, Matt Mavrinac, started devising a plan from the first phone call. He had to strategically place his team in the right places and handle the incoming unit trains with precision. There was no time to waste.

Overcoming The Hurdles

The first hurdle to overcome was receiving the trains. The BAP yard provided ample room to handle the client’s need, but the interchange point with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) only had space to hold 40 cars at a given time. The BAP team made arrangements to meet the Class I Carrier’s train at the interchange point when our client’s trains were delivered and immediately move them back to the yard.

As soon as the first train arrived, the team started pulling cars. They yarded the ones being kept and stored the others with a series of complex position shifts within the yard.

The team similarly handled the second train. The needed cars were pulled and swapped out. Those that were unnecessary were sent to storage. This high-pressure railcar dance was made possible because of careful planning and execution by the team. As a result, every train requested by the client was delivered on schedule and without error.

Communicating Effectively

The on-time delivery is even more remarkable, considering how fluid the situation was. Our client made configuration changes throughout the process. This required frequent communication with the customer. Along with patience and foresight from the BAP team. They staged cars but did not begin final assembly until they couldn’t wait any longer and still met the client’s deadline, providing flexibility for the customer until the very last minute.

This client’s story is just one example of our team at the BAP exceeding customer expectations while providing complex solutions. In his typical understated fashion, Matt Mavrinac says, “Sometimes it’s challenging, but we manage to pull things through.”

Routinely Solving Complex Problems

“It was a big win for us and our customer. This is the kind of thing Patriot and the BAP are distinctly made for because we have space and the wherewithal to do it,” said Nick Tharp, Associate Vice President of Transportation for Patriot.

Tight timetables and tighter regulations are standard in the railroad world. Patriot Rail & Ports makes solving customer challenges using complex solutions equally routine through effective communication and precise execution.

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