Public-private partnership secures $10 million federal grant for Willmar, Minn. railroad wye

U.S. Sen. Al Franken speaks at a ceremony to announce a $10 million federal TIGER grant that will help fund a railroad wye project in Willmar, Minn.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, right, speaks Friday in Willmar, Minn. for the announcement of a $10 million federal TIGER grant that will help fund a $49 million railroad project in Willmar. The construction of a railroad wye will allow several trains a day to bypass Willmar’s downtown railroad, reducing train traffic through the city and enhancing rail capacity and efficiency. Listening are, from left, are Minnesota Department of Transportation Chief of Staff Eric Davis, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg and Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin.

TIGER stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery. Funding for the project includes contributions from several sources, including $16 million from BNSF Railway and $15 million from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (42 votes)
Public-private partnership secures $10 million federal grant for Willmar, Minn. railroad wye

Austin Western Railroad is BNSF's Shortline Railroad of the Year for 2015

Congratulations to Austin Western Railroad (AWRR), BNSF's 2015 Shortline Railroad of the Year! AAWRR operates from Marble Falls to Elgin, Texas and interchanges freight with BNSF at McNeil, Texas. AWRR moves approximately 49,000 carloads annually, shipping commodities such as aggregates, crushed limestone, calcium bicarbonate, lumber, beer, chemicals, plastics and paper. View news release.

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (51 votes)
Austin Western Railroad is BNSF's Shortline Railroad of the Year for 2015

On this day in 1883, American railroads introduced time zones

Today is the 132nd anniversary of the creation of the first time zones, courtesy of railroads.


U.S. railroads helped originate the concept of time zones in the late 19th century. Prior to that, time was localized to individual communities based on when the sun reached its apex at noon. So, for every degree of longitude, there was a four-minute difference in time, and each community had its own timekeeping. These small differences were not an issue in the days when travel on foot, horseback or stagecoach took weeks or months. But, as railroads enabled travel from one town to another in a matter of hours, managing train schedules required much more precision and consistency.


So the railroads created four national time zones – which rolled out officially on Nov. 18, 1883. All locations within a time zone shared the same time, with a one-hour difference in each zone from east to west. Although the public quickly adopted the concept, it took Congress 35 years to pass the Standard Time Act of 1918, which mandated the use of time zones by law. 

Watch from Russ Bryan’s family collection.

While the implementation of time zones improved the efficiency and safety of railroads, more accurate timepieces were also needed. A tragic train collision on April 18, 1891, near Kipton, Ohio, that resulted in several fatalities prompted an investigation underscoring the need for accurate, reliable clocks and watches in railroad operations. A rail industry committee was established to outline specifications for “railroad-approved” watches. Railroad approved watches were high quality and made from premium materials to ensure the most accurate time measurement. Specifications included white dials with contrasting black numbers and hands, and numbers rather than Roman numerals.


Additional procedures also required the regular inspection of watches for accuracy. Railroad rules mandated that certain employees, including train dispatchers, conductors, enginemen and brakemen, have an approved watch and current watch inspection certification cards with them while on duty.


A similar set of rules is still in effect for on-duty crew members that requires they have a watch that is in good working condition and reliable, that displays hours, minutes and seconds, and cannot vary from the correct time by more than 30 seconds.


While train crew members are required to have a watch, other employees must only have access to a watch or a clock.


Today, these timepieces are valuable collectibles – and often treasured heirlooms within railroad families. Russ Bryan, manager, Load and Ride Solutions at BNSF, inherited several antique railroad watches.


“My family has more than 225 years of railroad service combined,” he says. “These watches are cherished family heirlooms with good reason. They were an investment in safety that my family members came to rely upon. Some of us still have fond memories of seeing our father or grandfather wearing his railroad watch that seemed to almost be a part of him.”



This Precision Clock made by Seth Thomas was the most expensive ever produced by the manufacturer and has an exceptionally heavy pendulum, weighing over 30 pounds. It is designed to run eight days with one winding. This clock originally resided in the General Watch & Clock Inspectors Office in Topeka, Kan. and can now be found at BNSF’s Fort Worth headquarters.


In addition to requiring many employees to carry watches, railroads also installed accurate clocks in major train depots.


One of the most esteemed clockmakers of the 19th century was Seth Thomas Sons & Co. Known for producing exceptionally accurate clocks and regulators, Seth Thomas was recognized for its advanced technology and beautifully crafted oak, mahogany or walnut cases. Like the railroad watches, these clocks are now considered collectors’ items, and some are quite valuable.


This E. Howard & Co. clock was crafted during the early 1900s for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway and is made of oak. 



Many antique railroad clocks and regulators are housed at BNSF headquarters in Fort Worth. The inventory includes nearly 200 items, ranging from standing floor clocks to long wall clocks and even small “schoolhouse” models, which are half the size of long wall clocks and usually have round or hexagonal faces. While most were produced by Seth Thomas, some upscale models were produced by E. Howard & Co.



A Santa Fe “schoolhouse” model clock.



This clock was manufactured in France between 1880 and 1890 and is a manual wind weight clock operated by weights on rollers. 


Although these clocks are antiques, they are still reliable.


“I find it impressive that so few of these [clocks] need maintenance,” says Sally King, BNSF curator. “Probably fewer than a dozen a year need work. For 100-year-old mechanical devices, they are surprisingly dependable and accurate.”


The official time for the United States is regulated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), formerly the National Bureau of Standards. Using the NIST-F1, a cesium fountain clock, the time is so precise it is not expected to lose or gain a second in nearly 100 million years. The official time is available via the NIST website and an automated radio broadcast from government radio station WWV in Boulder, Colo. Dial 303-499-7111 to listen to the broadcast.

Your rating: None Average: 4.9 (60 votes)
On this day in 1883, American railroads introduced time zones

BNSF honors Gallup with Heritage Community Award

Andrew Johnsen, assistant vice president, Community Affairs, talks with Jackie McKinney, mayor of Gallup, N.M. aboard a BNSF business car after presenting him with a model locomotive.


BNSF honored the city of Gallup, N.M. in a ceremony on Nov. 2 with its BNSF Railway Heritage Community Award. The award honors communities around BNSF’s 32,500-mile rail network that embrace their past, present and future ties to freight rail.


A reception and dinner were held aboard BNSF business cars brought to the Gallup Rail Yard for the occasion. 


Mayor Jackie McKinney accepted the award on behalf of the city. McKinney was joined by elected officials as well as representatives from area businesses and non-profit organizations. 


Andrew Johnsen, assistant vice president, community affairs, presented the award and expressed BNSF’s appreciation to the citizens, staff and leadership of Gallup and McKinley County. 


“BNSF Railway and Gallup have a shared history -- a history of seeking collaboration to grow jobs and the economy, solve problems together and strengthen our role as a good neighbor,” Johnsen said.       


As part of the recognition, donations were presented from the BNSF Railway Foundation to three area non-profit organizations.


BNSF and Gallup have ties dating back to 19th century


In 1880, the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, a BNSF predecessor, built headquarters for its paymaster David L. Gallup in a small New Mexico town. Workers in the area started using the phrase “going to Gallup” when they discussed picking up their paychecks. When the town was established in 1881, Gallup was chosen as the name. 


The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (Santa Fe) selected Gallup as a division point in 1895 and built shops, repair facilities and a depot hotel. Gallup was incorporated on July 9, 1891 and the A&P was sold at foreclosure to the Santa Fe in 1897.


Gallup’s early economy centered on coal mining. Gallup is located at the center of the Gallup-Zuni coal field and from 1886 to 1903, the area produced the most coal in New Mexico. 


Gallup was also located near the Navajo Nation, Zuni Pueblo, Acoma Pueblo and Laguna Pueblo and became a center for Native American arts and crafts. Route 66 came through Gallup in 1926 and many Indian Trading Posts were built to attract tourists traveling on the highway.



View of the Santa Fe yard and part of Gallup in March 1943. Photo by Jack Delano.


View of the Santa Fe yard and part of Gallup in March 1943. Photo by Jack Delano.


The Santa Fe Super Chief between Belen and Gallup, N.M. in March 1943. Photo by Jack Delano.


In the early 1900s, Gallup became a stopover point for the Santa Fe’s Indian Detours due to its proximity to Native American landmarks such as Zuni and Acoma Pueblos and the Petrified Forest. 

The "El Navajo" hotel, in Gallup. To the left of the hotel is the passenger depot. Photo courtesy of, Kansas State Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

Another view of the El Navajo hotel. Photo courtesy of, Kansas State Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

This is an architectural rendering by E. A. Harrison, the Santa Fe’s chief architect, for the El Navajo Hotel in Gallup. The rendering was based on Mary Colter’s designs. Photo courtesy of, Kansas State Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.


Mary Colter, a prolific Fred Harvey Company architect, designed a Harvey House for Gallup in 1916. Completed in 1923, El Navajo did not feature the Mission Revival architectural style of some of her other work. Instead, she used the Pueblo Revival style in honor of the community’s strong Native American ties. Native American artwork adorned the interior of the hotel, which was one of the largest on the system and one of the main training grounds for Harvey Girls. The Harvey house closed in 1957 and was demolished that year.


In 1996, the city of Gallup renovated the Santa Fe depot and opened the Gallup Cultural Center, a community center featuring a cultural and historic exhibit, Native American Art Gallery and visitor center.


A BNSF intermodal train west of Gallup. Photo courtesy of Dave Traudt.


A BNSF intermodal train east of Gallup. Photo courtesy of Dave Traudt.


Today, Gallup is part of BNSF’s Southern Transcon, a transcontinental route which runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. The Southern Transcon is an important route for intermodal trains.  Intermodal means freight containers are switched between these different modes of transportation – ships, trains and trucks -- on their journey from suppliers to consumers, carrying goods that we use every day such as clothes, electronics and vehicles. BNSF’s Gallup Subdivision covers track from Belen, N.M. to Winslow, Ariz. 

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (70 votes)
BNSF honors Gallup with Heritage Community Award

BNSF intermodal train passes through Mississippi Palisades

An intermodal freight train passes through last year’s autumn colors in the Mississippi Palisades north of Savanna, Ill.  Intermodal traffic represents nearly 50 percent of BNSF’s business by volume. BNSF’s intermodal business unit serves more than 8,000 shippers per year. In fact, BNSF loads the equivalent of a trailer or container every seven seconds. For more information about BNSF’s intermodal business, visit

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (56 votes)
BNSF intermodal train passes through Mississippi Palisades

45th Annual BNSF Railroad Veterans Convention, August 2016

BNSF retirees and current employees with at least 10 years of service are invited to attend the Forty-Fifth Annual BNSF Railroad Veterans Convention, which will be held Aug. 17-18, 2016 in Lincoln, Neb. at the Country Inn and Suites, 5353 N. 27th St. 

For more information please contact Frank Eman, Lincoln, Neb. at (402) 483-1251.

Hotel phone number (402) 476-5353.



Country Inn and Suites
4353 N. 27th
Lincoln, NE 68521
United States
Phone: (402) 476-5353
Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (46 votes)
45th Annual BNSF Railroad Veterans Convention, August 2016

Sand train near Stockton, Calif.

As the sun sets, a sand unit train rolls through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta near Stockton, Calif. A unit train is a train carrying just one commodity. 

While other modes of transportation operate on infrastructure paid for by taxpayers, BNSF operates almost exclusively on infrastructure it owns, builds and maintains independently. In 2015 alone, BNSF is investing $6 billion in its 32,500-mile rail network and related infrastructure. 

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (60 votes)
Sand train near Stockton, Calif.

Intermodal train passes Union Station in Kansas City

A high-priority intermodal freight train passes Union Station in Kansas City, Mo., on its way to the West Coast. Intermodal trains are twice as fuel efficient as trucks. A typical BNSF intermodal train can take the equivalent of 280 trucks off the highways, reducing traffic congestion and lowering emissions. For more information about BNSF’s intermodal business, visit

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (72 votes)
Intermodal train passes Union Station in Kansas City

Coal train crosses Mississippi River on Burlington Bridge

A loaded coal train crosses the steel truss bridge at Burlington, Iowa. The famous Burlington Bridge spanning the Mississippi River between Iowa and Illinois dates back to 1868, when the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CB&Q) completed the first one, a single-track through truss bridge. It was rebuilt as a double-track bridge in 1893 due to increasing rail traffic. That bridge remained in service for 119 years.


BNSF began construction on a new Burlington Bridge in 2009, replacing the swing span with a vertical lift span that can be raised in less than three minutes. The new span doubled the width of navigation channel to more than 322 feet. BNSF celebrated the opening of the new bridge in 2012.  It’s one of 12,900 bridges on BNSF’s 32,500-mile rail network.

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (64 votes)
Coal train crosses Mississippi River on Burlington Bridge

BNSF is always moving

As night falls, BNSF crews switch trains at Amboy, Calif., on the Needles Subdivision. BNSF is a 24/7 operation, currently moving around 1,500 trains each day on its 32,500-mile rail network in the western two-thirds of the United States.


Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (74 votes)
BNSF is always moving

Double-stack intermodal train approaches Continental Divide

A double-stack intermodal train approaches the Continental Divide near Gonzales, N.M. 


The term ‘intermodal’ refers to the transport of freight using more than one method of conveyance. Typically, the freight is moved in containers or trailers that can be transferred between ships, trains or trucks. Intermodal shipments represent roughly half of all BNSF shipments. BNSF is the world’s leading intermodal shipper and handles nearly 5 million intermodal units of consumer products a year, more than a million more than any other railroad. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, BNSF ships more than 40 million packages for UPS.  For more information, visit

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (72 votes)
Double-stack intermodal train approaches Continental Divide

Wayne Walker’s model train layout mixes railroad lines, locales

Wayne Walker created his first model train layout while he was a junior high student living in California in the late 1970s. It was a four-by-eight layout with double and triple track. He saw many Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) trains and chose to depict the BNSF forerunner in his layout.


Decades passed and in 2001, Walker moved to Belgrade, Mont., but his love for the Santa Fe and model trains stayed with him. Around 2011, after completing work on his new home, Walker was inspired to begin a new layout while looking at one of the locomotives from the one he built years before (a Santa Fe F45).

After researching the history of Northern Pacific Railway (NP) and Great Northern Railway (GN) in the Belgrade area, he decided to incorporate them into his new layout alongside a few Santa Fe pieces.

Walker’s current layout doesn’t focus on a specific location but is loosely based on towns in Montana such as Belgrade, Bozeman and Great Falls. Walker summarized his layout as “a little bit of everything.” “I built this layout so it could represent any time period depending on what locomotive power I put on a train.”


The layout rests on a four-by-six-foot table and has a two-foot extension on one side. The total track length is about 15 feet.

“I’ve got about 20 rolling stock, but I don’t run them all at the same time,” explained Walker. “Most of the locomotives are 70s vintage. I’ve got an F45, FT45, GP35, GP38, as well as a BNSF Dash 9. I have 8 buildings; a lumber yard, freight house, general store, church, grain elevator, three houses and a propane office. There are 11 people spread throughout the area and four crossings, two on the “main road”, one into the lumber yard and one going into the propane facility.”

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (73 votes)
Wayne Walker’s model train layout mixes railroad lines, locales

BNSF Railway honors Minot, North Dakota’s railroad ties with Heritage Community Award

BNSF has honored Minot, N.D. with a Heritage Community Award. The award recognizes towns that embrace their past, present and future ties to freight rail.

Minot Mayor Chuck Barney (left) accepts BNSF Railway Heritage Community Award from BNSF’s Andrew Johnsen

“BNSF has grown along with Minot. This is a railroad town that appreciates the strong tradition, but also today’s good jobs and the economic benefit that come with a robust railroad network,” said Andrew Johnsen, assistant vice president of community affairs at BNSF. “This award recognizes the Minot community and its leaders. We look forward to another 100 years here and more.”

Johnsen was joined by Mayor Chuck Barney for a presentation of the award in Minot on Sept. 22. Johnsen presented Barney with a model BNSF locomotive during a dinner served aboard BNSF vintage passenger railcars. He also gave the mayor a $5,000 BNSF Railway Foundation check for the city’s parks and recreation department and a $5,000 check to the Scandinavian Heritage Association, which was accepted by Scandinavian Heritage Association President Gail Peterson.

BNSF’s ties to Minot date back to the late fall of 1886, when BNSF predecessors first arrived at the city’s location. BNSF has maintained a strong presence in “The Magic City” ever since.

In the late 1880s, railroad tycoon James J. Hill’s St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (SP&P) was pushing through Minnesota and into Dakota Territory. By Oct. 1886, the main line reached the Gassman Coulee, a valley located just outside of what is now the city of Minot. In order to cross the valley, the railroad needed to build an extensive trestle. Rather than try and build during the coldest months of the year, construction was halted until the dead of winter passed. The area did not remain empty, however. As if by magic, a tent city sprang up, and within five months the population of “The Magic City” had increased from less than 600 to more than 5,000.

SP&P approached homesteader Erik Ramstad, who had claimed 160 acres on both sides of the Souris River in 1883, about officially establishing a town on his land. Ramstad, who later became one of the city’s first leaders, agreed to relinquish 40 acres south of the Souris to the now renamed St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway Company (SPM&M). After reaching an agreement with Ramstad, Hill obtained a government scrip laying claim to an additional 40 acres immediately south of Ramstad’s claim. On June 28, 1887, those 80 acres officially became the city of Minot. Hill named the city after his friend Henry D. Minot, an investor, director and executive of the railroad who was also vice president of the Eastern Minnesota Railway Company, another railroad formed by Hill.

SPM&M 158 with a snow plow attachment in Minot in 1887.

SPM&M completed the Gassman Coulee Trestle on May 1, 1887, allowing the railroad to continue its expansion. The railroad spent the winter months stockpiling supplies for the surge west, with The Magic City serving as its base of operations. SPM&M laid 545 miles of track from Minot to Great Falls, Montana Territory between April and mid-October 1887. By November, Hill’s 8,000 men and 3,300 teams had laid 641.5 miles of track between Minot and Helena, Mont. No other railroad had ever laid that much rail in one season.

Today’s Gassman Coulee Trestle is a steel bridge measuring 1,792-feet long and 117-feet high.

Upgrades to the railroad in the Minot area continued after Hill’s Great Northern Railway (GN) leased the SPM&M in 1890. A new steel bridge across Gassman Coulee, still in use by BNSF today, was completed in 1898. The cutoff between Fargo and Surrey, just east of Minot, was completed in 1912, shortening GN’s transcontinental line by approximately 60 miles. In the 1920s, new signals were installed through Minot.

Minot was a key rail terminal for GN. Its location made it ideal for channeling both eastbound and westbound traffic. Cars could be classified (sorted by destination) at Minot for final delivery to customers or connections at either end of the GN system. In the early 20th century, the yard in Minot had a working capacity of 2,197 cars.

In 1949, Minot became a federal grain inspection and sampling point. The number of grain cars held for inspection at Minot went from 4,123 in 1950 to an average of 18,788 cars a year in 1954-1955. The volume of “hold” grain was heaviest in the fall, when the railroad was also hauling considerable amounts of coal, fruit and livestock through Minot.

To alleviate the bottleneck, GN’s Board of Directors authorized construction of a modern hump yard with “push-button”-controlled switches and computer-controlled retarders at a cost of $6.5 million in 1954. The new yard was to be named in honor of Frank J. Gavin, GN president from 1939 to 1951, when John M. Budd took over as GN president. Gavin became chairman of the board of directors.

The three-mile-long facility contained 56 miles of track.

Gavin Yard construction began on April 15, 1955. Once completed, the three-mile-long facility extended the length of the entire Minot terminal to more than seven miles and more than doubled its car capacity to 4,584. Within those three miles, Gavin Yard sported 56 miles of track.

Frank J. Gavin, after whom Gavin Yard was named, speaks to the audience at the yard’s dedication.

John Budd, President of Great Northern Railway, addresses the crowd.

The ceremonial “first car over the hump” at the Gavin Yard dedication.

The facility was dedicated on Oct. 12, 1956 to mark Gavin’s 59th year of service with GN. This brochure was included in press kits handed out at the Oct. 12, 1956, dedication. Take a look for more information on Gavin Yard.

On March 2, 1970, SP&S, GN, Northern Pacific Railway (NP) and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CB&Q) merged to become Burlington Northern (BN). BN merged with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) in 1996 to form Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway, now BNSF Railway.

The Minot Car Shop, which opened in 2012, houses two 500-foot-long tracks that can hold up to five cars each.

An interior of the shop just before the dedication.

Minot and Twin Cities Division employees, retirees, and local and state officials who celebrated the shop’s opening.

In 2012, BNSF celebrated the official opening of a new car shop and two 9,200-foot inspection tracks at Gavin Yard. The car shop and inspection tracks represent a $30 million investment for BNSF in expanding the railroad's infrastructure to serve the growing freight volumes in North Dakota and along BNSF's Great Northern Corridor.

This building, located in Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot, N.D., is a replica of Gol Stave Church in Norway. About 40% of Minot’s population is of Scandinavian descent. Photo by Bobak Ha'Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

More than 400 active BNSF employees work in Minot. BNSF is proud of its enduring partnership with the city of Minot, which has been an important part of our network for more than a century.

Minot is the second city on BNSF’s 32,500-mile rail network to receive the Heritage Community Award. Pasco, Wash. received the honor in July.


Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (83 votes)
BNSF Railway honors Minot, North Dakota’s railroad ties with Heritage Community Award

BNSF employee organizes Fort Worth event to support law enforcement officers

Main Street Backs the Blue event in Fort Worth Texas, Sept. 7 2015

An estimated 1,300 people gathered in downtown Fort Worth, Texas on Sept. 7 to express their support and gratitude for law enforcement officers. The event, Main Street Backs the Blue, was attended by U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Fort Worth City Council members and law enforcement officials from around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. BNSF employee Nannette Samuelson and local bank employee Jason Baldwin co-directed the event, putting it together in just one week.
Samuelson, at center foreground of photo, said she was inspired to take action after the murder of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth the week before. She contacted the Fort Worth Police Officers Association and they put her in touch with Baldwin, who had also expressed a desire to do something to support police officers.
“I thought it was important that the community do something to show we appreciate police officers for putting their lives on the line for us every day,” Samuelson said. She says there are plans to make the rally an annual event.
Photo:  Rally attendees gather for a selfie. Samuelson is at center foreground. Co-organizer Baldwin is man with beard at right of center foreground. Right of Baldwin are Texas State Rep. Jason Villalba and Fort Worth Assistant Police Chief Ken Dean. 
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, in sunglasses, is right of Samuelson. Behind her is Sgt. Rick Van Houten, president of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association. Right of Price is Fort Worth City Councilmember Kelly Allen Gray, followed by Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson.
U.S. Rep Kay Granger is left of center foreground, in white. Taking the photo is Fort Worth Police Officer Buddy Calzada, whose organization Fort Worth Metro donated the stage for the event. Photo courtesy Buddy Calzada.

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (58 votes)
BNSF employee organizes Fort Worth event to support law enforcement officers

Fascinating time-lapse video: BNSF installs movable-point diamond in Vancouver, Wash.

BNSF employees recently installed a rare track component to address a bottleneck on the network in Vancouver, Wash.

When one set of railroad tracks crosses over another, the point at which they intersect is known as a crossover or a “diamond,” in reference to the diamond-shaped center. Track speeds are often reduced through a crossover or diamond to ensure safety.

BNSF trains operating through a crossover at the Columbia River Bridge between the Fallbridge and Seattle subdivisions used to be limited to no more than 10 mph. However, the recent installation of a rare “movable-point diamond” has allowed for higher efficiency through this stretch of track near the Amtrak Station in Vancouver.

“We can now get trains in and out of Vancouver faster, which makes the terminal more efficient,” said Seattle Signal Manager William Cruttenden.

The custom-built track component is the first of its kind at BNSF, and only a few are in use elsewhere in the United States. This time-lapse video captured the installation of the movable diamond over a 36-hour period.

Your rating: None Average: 4.9 (75 votes)
Fascinating time-lapse video: BNSF installs movable-point diamond in Vancouver, Wash.