Instead of commenting on weatherproof railroads of the past, I'll express my disappointment in weatherproof railroads of the present.
I am thinking of that January 1977 cold snap, that was featured prominently in the current Trains magazine, that brought steam-heated equipment to its knees, but HEP equipment kept right on chugging. It seems to me like part of the spec for new equipment was that it survive the cold better than the old did. And it seems to me like for most of the 80s and 90s, Superliners did indeed successfully operate through the worst winter weather.
One wonders if, in a State of Good Repair (tm), the Empire Builder would still be running next week, but for whatever reason, in its current condition, it is no longer up to the task. Is this a problem caused by failure to maintain insulation? Caused by retrofitting holding tanks rather than dumping wasting water? Failure to wire in heat traces that should have been on every water line on every HEP-equipped car every winter? I don't think simply planning to cancel trains in every cold snap is acceptable. Now, given that today's Builder is limping along with frozen pipes (which may well mean taking it out of service in Seattle for plumbing repairs), I understand them cancelling this week's trains.
But I sure want them to be doing something for the future. Ability to operate from -40 to +120, or some similar range, sure as heck better be in the specs for this mythical new fleet.
As to the state of affairs at BNSF, we aren't expecting an amount of new snow here in Montana that would cause problems. Marias Pass pretty much closes for avalanches in places unprotected by snowsheds, not much else. Farther east there is the possibility of short temporary closures from bad drifting. I imagine most freight will continue to move all next week.