ND farmers blame oil industry, rail carriers for major rail delays

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FARGO, ND – Some folks think all you need to stop a train these days are 700,000 barrels of oil a day that roll out of the North Dakota oil fields on rail lines.

A North Dakota State University report for North Dakota senator Heidi Heitkam found that the state’s farmers could lose as much as $160 million by the end of the year because of agriculture shipment delays.

The report didn’t point a finger at North Dakota’s booming oil production, but you’d have to be deaf not to hear farmers accuse rail operators of favoring the oil industry.

Rail operators, though, point to a bad winter, and even heavy springs snows as contributing to rail delays.

The usual wait for railcars from BNSF and other carries in North Dakota this time of year is about five days, but that’s jumped to more than 20, and getting worse.

But farmers aren’t the only one hurt. Power plants need coal and dealerships need cars and trucks.

If someone’s getting railroaded, it should be easy to track, but it does sound like a crazy idea. You know, a loco-motive.