New online form helps people ask BNSF about safety of railroad bridges



Do you have safety questions about a BNSF railroad bridge? We’ve created an easy-to-use online form to help you ask us about it directly. Just provide the location of the bridge, your contact information and any specific concerns or questions you have. You can even upload images of the bridge. Check it out!

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requires railroads to inspect every bridge on their network once a year. Bridges on BNSF’s core routes are typically inspected three times per year, exceeding that standard.

We’ve got more information about rail bridge safety for you on bnsf.com.

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New online form helps people ask BNSF about safety of railroad bridges

Investing to improve safety in the Pacific Northwest

 Freight rail is by far the safest mode of ground transportation. At BNSF Railway, we continue to invest in new technology and infrastructure improvements to make it even safer. 

Click the image to enlarge. Visit http://www.bnsfnorthwest.com for more about how our employees are working to improve safety in the Pacific Northwest and across our 32,500-mile rail network.  

BNSF is investing in safety in the Pacific Northwest and across our network

 

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Investing to improve safety in the Pacific Northwest

BNSF supports Vancouver Energy crude-by-rail terminal

Washington’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) is hosting a series of public hearings in Washington state to receive comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Vancouver Energy, a proposed crude-by-rail terminal to be built at the Port of Vancouver.

 
BNSF supports the efforts of joint venture partners Tesoro and Savage to site and build this terminal. Vancouver Energy is a project that can create thousands of jobs, with $1.6 billion in wages and more than $2 billion in economic impact for Washington. It can reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil by replacing up to 30 percent of imports to the West Coast with domestic oil.
 
 
This PDF has more information about the project and BNSF's safety and environmental performance in the Pacific Northwest.
 
 
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BNSF supports Vancouver Energy crude-by-rail terminal

Staples Historical Society receives donation from BNSF Railway Foundation

The Staples Historical Society (SHS) in Staples, Minn. received a $25,000 donation from the BNSF Railway Foundation on Jan. 7 that will help pay for the restoration and improvement of an important piece of railroad history, the Staples Northern Pacific Railway Depot. 

The depot was constructed by BNSF predecessor Northern Pacific Railway in 1909. The two-story building represents the Classical Revival architectural style and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. In 2008, BNSF transferred ownership of the depot to the SHS.

Since obtaining the depot, the SHS has worked to replace the depot’s roof and modernize the plumbing, electrical and cooling systems. The society hopes to convert the second floor of the depot into the Staples Historical Society Museum. 

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Staples Historical Society receives donation from BNSF Railway Foundation

BNSF trains carry freight from largest container vessel ever to visit a U.S. port

A BNSF intermodal departs the Port of Los Angeles after taking on freight from the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, the largest container vessel ever to visit a U.S. port. The ship, which can carry nearly 18,000 20-foot containers, docked in Los Angeles on Dec. 26. It will take 10 trains to transport BNSF's share of the cargo, more than 2,500 containers, inland.

 
 
 

The Benjamin Franklin will operate a regular service between Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif. and several ports in China. After its Los Angeles visit the ship stopped in Oakland. It departed yesterday afternoon to cross back over the Pacific Ocean, carrying a range of commodities including machinery and parts, cotton, sorghum wheat, corn, soybeans, barley, oats, and chemical products. 

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BNSF trains carry freight from largest container vessel ever to visit a U.S. port

Largest container ship ever to visit U.S. arrives in L.A. Dec. 26, welcomed by a BNSF intermodal train

CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin at Port of Los Angeles

The CMA-CGM Benjamin Franklin docked at the Port of Los Angeles for the first time at dawn on Saturday, Dec. 26 and is now unloading. It's the largest container ship ever to arrive at a North American port. It's 1,300 feet long, 177 feet wide and its cargo capacity is equal to nearly 18,000 20-foot containers. 

 
The Benjamin Franklin is longer than the height of the Empire State Building. It's nearly 300 feet longer than the aircraft carrier U.S.S. George H.W. Bush. It's wider than a football field, and it's as high as a 20-story building.
 
BNSF Railway was there to welcome the ship with an intermodal train ready to take on many of its containers and transport them inland.
 
It will take 10 BNSF trains to move its share of the cargo, more than 2,500 containers, to inland intermodal facilities including Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and Memphis. From there the containers will continue by truck to their destinations.
 
A TEU is a twenty-foot equivalent unit, a term used to indicate a ship's cargo capacity. It refers to a 20'x8'x8' cargo container. The longer 40'x8'x8' cargo container equals two TEUs. 
 
Benjamin Franklin is a brand-new ship delivered to CMA-CGM on Dec. 4. It launched on Dec. 10.
 
The ship will provide regular service connecting several Chinese ports with Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif. Its next stop is Oakland on Dec. 31.

Closeup of containers on CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin

CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin in early morning hours at Port of Los Angeles Dec. 26, 2015

Benjamin Franklin arrived at Port of Los Angeles at dawn on Dec. 26, 2015
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Largest container ship ever to visit U.S. arrives in L.A. Dec. 26, welcomed by a BNSF intermodal train

25th annual Santa Claus Express treats Southern California children to train ride with Santa

So many smiling faces in this video! The 25th annual BNSF Santa Claus Express took 1,200 children and family members from the High Desert region of Southern California for a fun-filled Christmas train ride with Santa Claus. The children were selected by area non-profit organizations including United Way, Scottish Rite, Spirit Family Services, Ronald McDonald House and others. Happy Holidays from BNSF Railway. 

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25th annual Santa Claus Express treats Southern California children to train ride with Santa

Happy “Hollidays”

Happy “Hollidays” from BNSF Railway! Here’s a look at the Cyrus K. Holliday rail car, located at BNSF’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. This vintage passenger car is now used for meetings and special events by BNSF employees. 

The passenger car was named after Cyrus Kurtz Holliday, a founder of Topeka, Kan. and the first president of what was to become the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF), a major BNSF predecessor. Holliday served as president of the company from 1859 to 1864 and remained a director of ATSF until his death in 1900.

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Happy “Hollidays”

BNSF helps Chicago firefighters make special delivery to benefit hundreds of children

When they aren’t entering blazing buildings or saving lives, firefighters look for other ways to serve the community, and the proud men and women of the Chicago Fire Department are no different.

 

BNSF employees share that strong focus on community and partnered with the Chicago Fire Department on a project to benefit hundreds of children in need.

 

One of the signature community events for the Chicago Firefighter’s Union, Local 2 is the annual holiday “Big Toy Parade.” The event provides holiday toys at no cost to low-income children and the children of deployed military personnel. The toys are delivered through partnerships with Catholic Charities, the Humboldt Park Armory and others. 

 

Several years ago, the firefighters found a generous partner in Huffy, located in California, to provide bikes for the holiday toy program. But, moving hundreds of bikes from Los Angeles to Chicago is no easy task — that is, unless you’re BNSF.

 

 

When the firefighters reached out to BNSF, the company was happy to help. BNSF partnered with JB Hunt, which provided an empty container to transport the bikes across the Southern Transcon. BNSF employees helped secure local transportation for the freight container in both Los Angeles and Chicago.

 

“It means the world to us that BNSF cares enough to step in and help us,” said Tim O'Brien, director of public relations, Chicago Firefighters Union, Local 2. “If BNSF wasn’t involved, it would mean a lot less children would get bikes. Everybody’s doing their little bit, and together we get this done each year for the kids and these families.”

 

 

The Chicago firefighters received the shipment of 500 bikes on Nov. 30. The firefighters spent a week assembling the bikes and delivered them to families on Dec. 5.

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BNSF helps Chicago firefighters make special delivery to benefit hundreds of children

DIY railroad crossing ornament tutorial

Here’s a fun and easy holiday craft for railroad fans of all ages! Thank you, Friends of BNSF member Susan Crites from Lamar, Colo., for sending us this idea! You can follow her on Twitter at @neonnurse and Pinterest at susancrites.

 

What you’ll need:

•Railroad crossing pattern (download below)

•A printer

•Red crayon, pen, pencil or marker (optional)

•Scissors

•Packaged candy canes (1 cane per ornament)

•Tape or glue

•Paper clip

 

 

 

Let’s put it together!

 

Step One: Print the pattern onto white computer paper or cardstock (If you can’t print onto cardstock, you can glue the printed pattern onto cardstock to make it sturdier.)

 

Step Two (optional): Color in the patterns.

 

Step Three: Cut out the crossing signs.

 

Step Four: Use tape or glue near the top of the pole to attach both sides together, then another piece of tape or drop of glue to attach the crossing signs to the candy cane.

 

Step Five: Form a hook by bending a paperclip.

 

Step Six: Use tape or glue to attach the paperclip to the top of the crossing stick.

Enjoy your railroad crossing ornament!  

  

 
Do you have a favorite railroad-themed DIY project? Send us an email at communitymanager@bnsf.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post!

Click the image below for a larger, downloadable version of the pattern.

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DIY railroad crossing ornament tutorial

Happy Holidays!

  

BNSF Railway wishes you a happy holiday season and fantastic New Year! Click the image to enjoy an animated e-card!

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Happy Holidays!

BNSF expands its Tribal Relations team with addition of Quanah Spencer, tribal liaison for Pacific Northwest

In late 2014, BNSF announced the formation of a Tribal Relations team, led by Director Chris Howell, with a focus on strengthening and reinforcing BNSF relationships with Native American tribes. Howell has since been joined by Quanah Spencer, tribal liaison for the Pacific Northwest, and a third member will come on board later to support the Great Plains.

 

“Chris and his team are helping BNSF engage tribal communities, exploring opportunities that can enhance a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, and potentially grow our business while enhancing tribal economies, jobs and educational opportunities,” says Andrew Johnsen, assistant vice president, Community Affairs. “We have some pretty good examples of working together on projects, such as adding the second main line through Abo Canyon in New Mexico. But what we have lacked is an institutional capability to better understand the vast and diverse community of people across our network.”

 

Howell, left, is a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and Spencer, right, is a member of the Yakama Nation.

 

“Our job is to build a level of understanding and find commonalities on both challenges and opportunities,” says Howell of his team’s role. “I don’t know any other company that is putting this kind of effort into building tribal relationships. There are many opportunities for BNSF and the tribes to work cooperatively, and we already have some tangible examples of how this benefits all of us.”

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BNSF expands its Tribal Relations team with addition of Quanah Spencer, tribal liaison for Pacific Northwest

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.

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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.

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