(Oct. 25) FORT WORTH, Texas — As rail continues to make its comeback among certain segments of the produce industry, rail companies are looking for new ways to put potential customers at ease about shipping through this once-popular mode of transportation.

To that end, Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. has expanded its full money-back guarantee for carload rail service — including refrigerated boxcars — to lines running from the Pacific Northwest to Midwest and Texas markets.

With the guarantee, the rail company will offer a 100% refund for each load that arrives later than the predetermined transit time. The transit time will be agreed upon beforehand by BNSF and the customer.

Generally, on-time performance is measured from the time one customer releases the car to the time it is spotted on the receiving dock.

In December, the company plans to expand the guarantee to include service from the Pacific Northwest to Northern California, Southern California and Arizona.

“Our efforts to redesign the network have resulted in our improved ability to provide customers with a more consistent and reliable service product,” Dave Garin, group vice president for BNSF Industrial Products Marketing, said in a news release.

In April 2001, the company expanded its on-time intermodal guarantee to include temperature-controlled commodities. This is the first time BNSF has offered a money-back guarantee on carload — or nonintermodal — shipments.

“Given (the success of the intermodal program), we simply felt it was time to offer customers a risk-free transportation alternative for carload rail service,” Garin said.

For more information, visit BNSF’s Web site at www.bnsf.com.