Heitkamp versus the railroads

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is all over the railcar shortage issue, as well she should be.

Specifically, Heitkamp, who has taken on big tobacco in the past, has focused her considerable influence on Canadian Pacific Railway and its apparent bad-faith efforts to bring railcar deliveries to North Dakota elevators up to date.

According to a news release from the senator’s office last week, Heitkamp “called out Canadian Pacific Railway CEO E. Hunter Harrison for his company’s new, yet seriously flawed, system to handle the delays of agriculture shipments in North Dakota.”

“Specifically, the company’s new rail car order and shuttle train system ignores the current number of unfulfilled requests from grain elevators, and forces North Dakota’s farmers and grain operators to start from scratch in the middle of the state’s harvest season. It’s making grain elevators essentially leave massive quantities of crops on the side of the road while the railroad will only transport new grain orders.”

The company, in short, is accused of starting at zero in its own count of ordered cars yet to be delivered.

That’s not the kind of response we would hope for from Canadian Pacific and does farmers no good.

Is that any way to run a railroad?

Good job, Heidi. Keep turning up the heat – on CP and any other railroad or rail transportation authority that might be able to help our farmers who are already hurting this year because of crop quality issues.