FORT WORTH, Texas – A contribution of $1 million to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina was announced Sept. 2 by BNSF Railway Company, along with an offer to the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to provide railroad transportation in support of hurricane relief and recovery efforts.
The contribution by the railway, a subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, will be made to the American Red Cross via the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation.
“All of America grieves at the unfolding tragedy and our Company and employees are anxious to help. We understand there are matters more immediate than transportation and logistics issues, but BNSF will stand ready to help when the time comes [to stage relief efforts],” Matthew K. Rose, BNSF Chairman, President and CEO, said in a letter to the three governors.
BNSF’s line into the New Orleans area from the west was opened for service at 6 p.m. Central time Sept. 1, when repairs to the railway’s bridge over Bayou Boeuf at Morgan City, La. were completed. The bridge had been damaged when it was struck by a barge during the night of Aug. 28-29.
BNSF operations do not reach all of the coastal regions, but BNSF connects to railroad partners over which it can reach impacted areas. Rose told the governors BNSF will consider reasonable requests for use of equipment and movement of materials over the combined freight railroads’ network to assist in the recovery.
The letter noted that there are continuing discussions between the Association of American Railroads member railroads, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak and others to address a coordinated response by the nation’s freight railroads. BNSF also said it will register its willingness to assist with transportation services on the Department of Homeland Security’s Web site.
“Employees of BNSF join me in offering our prayers for the victims of the hurricane and our hopeful intentions for the future of the stricken areas,” Rose’s letter to the governors concludes. “Again, the BNSF Railway stands ready to help.”