Grain Shuttle Train Turns

internal.agtransport.usda.gov | Last Updated 26 Mar 2020

Grain shuttle trip data from the Surface Transportation Board's (STB) Rail Service Metrics. Each month, the railroads with dedicated grain shuttle service (BNSF, UP, and CP) provide information on the number of turns their grain shuttles make per month. Shuttle trips per month (TPM) should be reported on an average basis. For example, if a particular train set makes three origin to destination moves and another train set makes five origin to destination moves during the same calendar month, the railroad’s average TPM would be four. The data applies only to those carriers operating grain unit trains in shuttle service. STB eliminated the requirement for carriers with (non-shuttle) dedicated grain trains to report trips per month "because the disparate data carriers could provide on that type of service would not provide the Board insight into service beyond the velocity data collected elsewhere." STB instructs, "in the first report of each month, railroads operating grain shuttles are required to report their average train trips per month for their system and key destination regions versus planned trips per month for their system and key regions for the previous month." While STB collected related shuttle trip data as part of its initial collection in October 2014, those data included non-shuttle grain trains and, thus, are not directly comparable with the set beginning March 29, 2017.

Tags: rail, service, metrics, grain, shuttle, turns, trips, performance, stb

This dataset has the following 8 columns:

Column NameAPI Column NameData TypeDescriptionSample Values
Datedatecalendar_dateWeek ending dates, ranging from 03/29/2017 to the present.
WeekweeknumberWeek number calculated from the reported week ending date (Date field). Week 1 is the first week of the year with a week ending date falling on or after January 4. In other words, it is the first reported week of data which includes four days in the new year. Values range from 1 to 52 or 53, depending on the year.
MonthmonthnumberMonth number calculated from the reported week ending date (Date field). Week ending dates falling before the fourth day of the month are assigned to the previous month. For example, a week ending date falling on February 1st, 2nd, or 3rd would correspond to “1” (January), since there are less than four days in the reported week that fall in February. Values range from 1 through 12, where 1 refers to January, 2 to February, etc.
YearyearnumberYear number calculated from the reported week ending date (Date field). Week ending dates falling on or after January 4 correspond to the calendar year of the reported week. Week ending dates falling on or before January 3 correspond to the previous calendar year. For example, a week ending date falling on January 2, 2018 would be “2017.” Values range from 2014 to the present.
RailroadrailroadtextClass I railroad name: BNSF, CP, or UP.
RegionregiontextSystem and key railroad destination regions, such as "Gulf," "Pacific Northwest," and others.
Average Turnsaverage_turnsnumberAverage train trips per month. STB requests this to be reported at the start of the month for the previous month. BNSF reports zeroes in submissions that do not fall on the first of the month. Here, BNSF's zeroes are replaced with what was reported on the first submission of that month. UP already follows a similar pattern. CP reports new data weekly.
PlannedplannednumberPlanned train trips per month. Similar adjustments are made to the BSNF data as described in the Average Turn column.