“BNSF-served members will have little or no opportunity to rebuild stockpiles given current service levels,” the league petition stated. Fort Worth-based BNSF officials, for their part, countered that “significant” velocity enhancement is under way, according to Platts; further disclosure, they added, would be “interfering with efficient resources.”

Utility coal stockpiles in the U.S. are down 23% from 2013, reported analysts, much owing to complications from Powder River Basin rail delivery, served by BNSF and Union Pacific, due to weather impacts. To date, BNSF has invested $1 billion in expansion, maintenance and the formation of rapid response teams, said company representatives.