“This is extremely time-sensitive cargo. We’ve got a 90-minute window to connect with BNSF in Fresno and we do it consistently,” emphasizes Jones. “We are in direct competition with trucks for this business,” he adds, “and yet we’ve been able to grow this business every year since we started with Bolthouse Farms. Sometimes, they require an extra train on the weekend and we accommodate them; we’ll build that extra train.”
While most think it’s the rail industry’s service improvements in recent years that have been responsible for turning heads, Jones, a long-time rail veteran, says that service has always been good—it’s just taken some time for everyone else to notice.
“Business is growing because rail service, in general, has always been good. We treat the wine, beer, cheese, tomato, and carrot business like it’s gold. We feel like we do something exceptional to get this type of business away from the trucks. Working with the Union Pacific and making those seamless hand-offs every single night and being on their Express Lane train—I don’t think business gets any better than that.”