A boom in oil production across the upper Midwest is seriously affecting rail travel through that part of the country. The Amtrak Empire Builder, which transports rural residents between Seattle/Portland and Chicago, is bearing the brunt of the disruptions caused by the uptick in freight traffic. BNSF, which operates the railway shared by Amtrak and freight trains, is adding as much capacity as possible, but its efforts are not coming fast enough. As a result, Amtrak was forced to cancel select Empire Builder runs while other trains faced delays of as much as 5 hours. To maintain some sort of service, Amtrak has run stub service from Seattle/Portland to Spokane and from Minneapolis to Chicago. Even so, many of these now-cancelled runs have previously sold out. With no parallel Amtrak service available and train equipment in short supply, the problems facing the Empire Builder is endemic to a passenger rail network that remains vulnerable due to a lack of alternatives despite high demand.