Part of the work we do at BNSF is move stuff, and sometimes that stuff is big. REALLY big. Moving those big objects onto railcars to send on a cross-country journey is tricky work. For customers who need wind tower components, giant machinery, airplane fuselages and other oversized loads, we make “big” tasks seem small.

“Big” in this instance refers to an oversized load: a load measuring more than 17 feet tall from the top of the rail and more than 11 feet wide from the center of the railcar. These large loads start with four-axle cars that have a weight of 286,000 pounds and can go up to the gargantuan 36-axle Schnabel, the largest railcar in the world measuring 351 feet in length. For reference, the weight for a four-axle car equals the weight of approximately 22 bull African elephants.

BNSF’s High-Wide team enters the equation whenever the logistics for an oversized load require plenty of oversight. The team selects the route and makes sure the load will clear tunnels, bridges and structures. Planning can take a few months to over a year. Oversized loads are closely monitored from there during its trek, as timing is crucial. Learn more here: