Time-lapse video: BNSF rebuilds high-tech command center

Seven months and $20 million worth of work shown in 1 minute!
 
Here’s an amazing time-lapse video of our high-tech Network Operations Center being renovated last year. The center manages 1,400 trains and 205,000 railcars every day. Its floor is as big as 10 Olympic swimming pools. Dispatchers temporarily relocated to allow the renovation to take place, but now they’re back at work in the NOC with new, technologically advanced workstations and a redesigned layout to ease communication.
 

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Time-lapse video: BNSF rebuilds high-tech command center

Taconite - what is it and why does BNSF haul it?

One of the many interesting commodities BNSF hauls is called taconite! Ever heard of it? It’s an ore that contains iron and when it’s processed into pellets, it’s great for making steel. This cool 1-minute video shows how BNSF helps get the pellets to the steel mill.

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Taconite - what is it and why does BNSF haul it?

Great Northern Railway workers place last spike to complete transcontinental route, Jan. 6, 1893

Great Northern Railway workers place the last spike in the Cascade Mountains in 1893.

In this photo, rail workers celebrate the placement of the last spike of the Great Northern Railway (GN) track in the Cascade Mountains. The last spike was driven on Jan. 6, 1893, and signified the completion of GN’s 1,816-mile transcontinental line. Work on the Pacific extension began Friday, Oct. 20, 1890, at Havre, Mont. By the end of the summer of 1893, regular service solidified the link between Seattle and the East.

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Great Northern Railway workers place last spike to complete transcontinental route, Jan. 6, 1893

BNSF names new siding in honor of Melonas family's 110 years of railroading

Gus and Louis Melonas stand by the sign marking the new Melonas Siding along the Columbia River in Washington state.

Friends of BNSF members in the Pacific Northwest may know of the Melonas family, which has been part of the story of BNSF and its predecessors for more than 100 years. Konstantinos "Gust" Melonas was a construction foreman for the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway (SP&S) in southern Washington starting in 1907. His sons Sam and John Melonas worked for the railroad as well. Sam became an assistant superintendent for roadway and maintenance for Burlington Northern (BN), and John became a vice president for safety at BN. Sam's sons Louis and Gus work for BNSF today. Louis, at right in photo, is a welding foreman and Gus, left, is a regional public affairs director frequently seen speaking to news media.

In honor of the family's three generations of contributions to the railroad, last month BNSF officially named a new siding in the Columbia River Gorge the Melonas Siding. Both Louis and Gus Melonas attended the ceremony. Congratulations and thanks to the Melonas family for their service!

More details in The Columbian.

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BNSF names new siding in honor of Melonas family's 110 years of railroading

Holiday Express finishes 10th annual run to honor military families

BNSF’s Holiday Express, a special train tour to honor military members and their families, has wrapped up the 10th annual run! This year’s tour visited Temple, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; Oklahoma City; Springfield, Mo. and Kansas City, Mo. Military families enjoyed a fun train ride with Santa Claus, enjoyed refreshments and received gift ornaments. Over the past 10 years, the Holiday Express has carried more than 25,000 military personnel and their families. Here's a look at the train's visit to Fort Worth.

 

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Holiday Express finishes 10th annual run to honor military families

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas - Happy Hanukkah - Happy Holidays to all our Friends of BNSF members and your loved ones! Happy New Year, and watch for exciting developments in 2018.

 

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Happy Holidays!

Maia LaSalle, BNSF agriculture ombudsman

Maia LaSalle is an agriculture ombudsman for BNSF Railway based in Havre, Mont. BNSF ombudsmen get involved in the communities they live and work in to better serve farmers, processors and shippers across our network. It's an important part of BNSF's commitment to working alongside the American farmer to put food on tables around the world.

 

 

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Maia LaSalle, BNSF agriculture ombudsman

View of Spokane, Wash. from viaduct, 1931

View of Spokane from Northern Pacific viaduct in 1931

Spokane and BNSF Railway go back a long way!  Northern Pacific Railway, a major BNSF predecessor line, was the first railroad to reach Spokane in June 1881. This Northern Pacific photo from our archives shows a scene from Spokane in 1931, visible from the viaduct. This is North Stevens Street, facing north.  That narrow lane between the two buildings in right foreground is Railroad Alley. The first intersection visible is West 1st Avenue, and the intersection farther back is Sprague Avenue. The famous Hotel Spokane and Silver Grill is no more, but all the buildings on the right are still there.
 

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View of Spokane, Wash. from viaduct, 1931

Minnesota firefighters receive hazmat training from BNSF, other Class I railroads

Minnesota firefighters hazmat training

Forty firefighters from 10 of Minnesota's chemical assessment teams participated in hazardous materials training yesterday with BNSF Railway and other Class I railroads. The training at Camp Riley, near Little Falls, Minn., was coordinated by Minnesota's Homeland Security and Emergency Management, a division of the state's Department of Public Safety.

Railroads transport hazardous materials used in everyday living, from treating water to fertilizing crops. BNSF trains first responders around its network continuously so they are prepared to help manage an unlikely incident.

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Minnesota firefighters receive hazmat training from BNSF, other Class I railroads

BNSF begins repairs after Tropical Storm Harvey

BNSF is working to restore service in South Texas after Tropical Storm Harvey. Equipment and supplies were pre-positioned for repairs to damaged track, bridges or facilities. Crews have now begun repairs in areas where water is receding. Team members continue to manage the response from a 24/7 command center in The Woodlands.

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BNSF begins repairs after Tropical Storm Harvey

BNSF employees rescue Houston residents, pets from floodwaters

BNSF employees from Temple, Texas, stepped up to help the people of Houston this week. They gathered four truckloads  of food and supplies and delivered them to Houston, along with boats and equipment. They rescued 110 people and 30 pets from flooding. Employees also took up a collection to help families relocated to Bell County Expo Center in Belton.

 

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BNSF employees rescue Houston residents, pets from floodwaters

BNSF moves Galveston Railroad Museum rolling stock to safety before Hurricane Harvey's arrival

 Galveston Railroad Museum rolling stock safe at Pearland Intermodal Facility.

Santa Fe No. 315 and vintage passenger cars from the Galveston Railroad Museum wait out Tropical Storm Harvey at BNSF Railway's Pearland Intermodal Facility in Houston on Saturday, Aug. 26. BNSF moved rolling stock from the museum to higher ground to protect it before Hurricane Harvey reached landfall. 

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BNSF moves Galveston Railroad Museum rolling stock to safety before Hurricane Harvey's arrival

BNSF's 24/7 Command Center manages response to Tropical Storm Harvey

 BNSF's 24-7 Command Center

Team members at BNSF’s 24/7 Command Center are shown managing BNSF’s response to Tropical Storm Harvey. Widespread flooding caused by Harvey is disrupting BNSF operations in the Houston area. Some locations have received nearly 40 inches of rain and several more inches are expected during the next 48 hours.
 
With multiple washouts and high water reported on BNSF main lines in the area, we have suspended all traffic into or out of Houston.
 
Operations at BNSF Houston-area railyards and facilities, including our Pearland Intermodal and Automotive facilities, are currently suspended. Our command center is in frequent communication with local, state and federal emergency personnel to evaluate conditions and determine when operations can safely resume.
 
With additional flooding likely during the next few days, normal train flows in the area may not resume for an extended period. Customers with questions about your shipments, please contact Customer Support at 1-888-428-2673 option 4, option 3.
 
Our thoughts and prayers are with South Texas residents and first responders contending with this ordeal. 
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BNSF's 24/7 Command Center manages response to Tropical Storm Harvey

A single car's journey on the BNSF network

BNSF’s carload network collects single cars from multiple customer locations and places them into merchandise trains hauling a mix of different types of freight. It’s a complex system requiring advanced tools and technology, and coordinated teamwork to ensure deliveries of customers’ shipments are made safely and efficiently. To see how it's done, watch this video and follow the journey of a single car.
 

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A single car's journey on the BNSF network

BNSF employees help return baby owl to its family

BNSF employees gave a baby owl a lift in Fort Worth, Texas!

With the help of a BNSF bucket truck, Brandi Nickerson of Nature's Edge Wildlife and Reptile Rescue safely returned the two-month-old barn owl to its family under a BNSF rail overpass near Haslet, Texas on June 26.

The owl fell from its nest while still unable to fly. Nature's Edge recovered the bird and restored it to full health.

After obtaining permission from the local game warden, Nickerson asked for BNSF's help to reach the nest 18 feet above ground. BNSF provided a truck the same day and worked with local police to direct traffic around the operation. "It was impressive how far BNSF went out of its way to make sure the birds were safe, and everything they coordinated to ensure it was done safely," Nickerson said afterward.

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BNSF employees help return baby owl to its family