Welcome to Friends of BNSF!

If any of the following describes you, then this might be just the website for you:

  • You want to know more about how BNSF contributes to our way of life;
  • You or a family member works at BNSF;
  • You or a family member has retired from BNSF or one of its predecessor companies;
  • You want to explore the rich history of BNSF;
  • Or, you just flat out love trains!

From historic photos and videos to a library of resources about BNSF to free downloadables like wallpaper and ringtones, we've got plenty for you to check out. Take a look at the sample stories below. Then, join the site.

Deep personal connections to agriculture at BNSF

Agriculture matters to BNSF Railway. At BNSF we not only work together with farmers, many of us ARE farmers. Many of our employees grew up on a farm and still harbor cherished memories of the farming life. Others are still farming today.

In this video we meet BNSF Chief Financial Officer Julie Piggott, who comes from a farming family in North Dakota, and Locomotive Engineer John Knierim, who grows wheat, peas, lentils, canola and corn in Montana. “I remember when we were young we used to take lunch out to my dad every day while he was working the harvest so he could have something to eat, and we’d put a blanket down and treat it like a picnic,” Pigott says.

Piggott, Knierim and many others at BNSF bring their deep personal connection to farming in to work every day and it drives them to do their best for our agricultural customers.

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Deep personal connections to agriculture at BNSF

Video: The American farmer and BNSF Railway

American agriculture and BNSF Railway go back a long way. In the early years, farmers and the railroad depended on each other and survived and flourished because of each other. Today, that relationship still powers BNSF. The evolution of American agriculture has driven the U.S. food supply chain to become the most productive in the world, and we at BNSF are proud to help get American farms’ bounty to tables around the world. 

Many of our employees grew up on farms and understand the challenges our agricultural customers face. Driven by that personal connection, they do their very best for our agricultural customers every day when they come in to work. Agriculture matters at BNSF.

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Video: The American farmer and BNSF Railway

Northern Pacific Railway depot in Wallace, Idaho

The Northern Pacific (NP) Railway depot in Wallace, Idaho was built in 1901. The chateau-style building was constructed using bricks imported from China at a total cost of approximately $9,000. The depot opened on May 20, 1902. The following year, President Theodore Roosevelt visited the town and gave a speech at the NP station. 


The depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. In 1986, the depot had to be moved because of construction of a new highway. Many citizens watched the event, which is celebrated every year on the day before Mother’s Day with the Depot Days Classic Car & Motorcycle Show


The depot has since been converted into the Northern Pacific Railroad Museum, which is open from April until the end of October. The depot museum, shown in the above photo courtesy of the Northern Pacific Ralroad Museum, is at 219 Sixth Street in downtown Wallace, Idaho. 


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Northern Pacific Railway depot in Wallace, Idaho

Warren Buffett stops by BNSF's "Berkyville" model train display at Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting

Carl Ice, Warren Buffett and Matt Rose visit BNSF's booth at Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting on May 1, 2015.

BNSF Railway President and CEO Carl Ice, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and BNSF Railway Executive Chairman Matt Rose visit the BNSF booth and model railroad display “Berkyville” at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb. on May 1. Up to 44,000 people are expected to attend this year’s meeting. BNSF became a Berkshire Hathaway company in 2010.

Carl Ice, Warren Buffett and Matt Rose visit BNSF's "Berkyville" model train display.

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Warren Buffett stops by BNSF's "Berkyville" model train display at Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting

BNSF releases 2014 Annual Review

BNSF manifest train in Deschutes River Valley, Oregon.

In 2014, BNSF achieved its best-ever year for employee safety. We faced service challenges on capacity-constrained parts of our rail network, and responded with a record capital investment of $5.5 billion to expand capacity. Here’s an in-depth look at our commitment to growth, increasing capacity, safety, the environment, our employees and our communities.

2014 Annual Review

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BNSF releases 2014 Annual Review

North Coast Limited offered premier passenger service


“Off to see the Northwest, Good-bye all! Another happy vacation party heads for scenic Yellowstone Park, Rocky Mountains, Rainier Park, and other nationally famous regions. Their train, the North Coast Limited runs between Chicago, Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland via the Northern Pacific Railway.”


The above picture and caption showcase the commercial appeal of Northern Pacific’s (NP) premier passenger train, the North Coast Limited (NCL).


Departing from St. Paul, Minn., on April 29, 1900, the NCL made its maiden voyage to Puget Sound as one of the first named trains in the United States. It was joined in the Midwest-Pacific Northwest trade by Milwaukee Road’s Olympian in 1911 and Great Northern Railway’s Empire Builder in 1929.


Initially, the NCL operated in a limited capacity during the summer season. NP, however, quickly saw the popular appeal of the NCL and promoted the train to year-round service.


While the NCL achieved success in the early 1900s, it trailed the Empire Builder and Olympian in passenger occupancy rates later in the century until the streamliner era took hold of the industry in the 1940s.


The NCL benefited the most from the improvements of the era when Northern Pacific spent $65 million right after World War II to update the train’s equipment with lightweight, streamlined equipment from Pullman-Standard. At the same time, the train was equipped with new diesel-electric locomotives.


Extensive aesthetic upgrades in the mid-1950s included Vista-Dome cars, which offered passengers a panoramic view. The new cars’ sleek two-tone green exterior was complimented by a single white pinstripe. The interiors depicted stunning scenes of the Northern Plains and the Cascades Range.


While the artful elegance of the NCL certainly attracted customers to the railroad, the dining car service set the train apart from its competitors. Added in 1955, the Traveler’s Rest buffet lounge cars became the talk of the industry. Named after Lewis and Clark’s favorite campsite, the cars put the NCL once again into the forefront of the luxury train travel experience, which supported Northern Pacific’s efforts to continue long-distance rail passenger service in the grand manner.


Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (61 votes)
North Coast Limited offered premier passenger service