Idaho: A Crucial Part of the Great Northern Corridor
BNSF has played a key role in Idaho’s economy for more than a century, and that tradition remains strong. Idaho continues to be part of the Great Northern Corridor, which spans from the Pacific Northwest to Chicago.
BNSF ships trainloads of products in and out of Idaho and links industries in the state—such as agriculture and timber—to domestic and international markets. In total, BNSF moves 1.5 million carloads of freight in Idaho annually.
In addition to linking Idaho’s economy with regional and international markets, BNSF also houses our refueling facility in Hauser. The Hauser facility refuels locomotives and applies lube oil, water and traction sand in a turn-around time of 30 to 45 minutes for an average of 32 trains a day. The Hauser fueling depot is also a leader in environmental protection, with robust environmental monitoring and detection systems on site. Learn more at: https://bnsfnorthwest.com/idaho/.
Honoring Heritage and Future with Berkyville
When BNSF joined the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK) team in 2010, we wanted to make a big statement at the annual BRK meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. So, we took our expertise in railroads and scaled down to create something that honored both our heritage and future: Berkyville.
Berkyville is the brainchild of Roger and Dorcie Farkash, co-owners of TW Design, which builds theatrical sets and trade show displays. It’s a model train track built around a town made up of 50 BRK sister companies, complete with a jet circling above town and two iconic sections of BNSF railroad—Two Medicine Bridge in Montana’s Glacier National Park and Sullivan Curve over California’s Cajon Pass. In addition to a downtown, mining operations, a coal-fired power plant, grain elevators and an intermodal yard were also added to Berkyville. Three loop tracks run over mountains and through the cityscape, tunnels and rural areas, connecting the railroad to customers–just like in real life.
Building Berkyville was no small feat. The designers had to make Berkyville transportable, so they employed modular construction using eight 4-by-8-foot sections. These days, Berkyville makes appearances at the annual BRK meetings as well as annual employee events. Read more at: http://www.bnsf.com/news-media/railtalk/heritage/berkyville.html.
Safety is Paramount
Safety is at the forefront of every railroader’s mind, and safety is at the foundation of everything BNSF Railway does. As a common carrier, we’re required to move all regulated products, including hazardous materials like crude oil. This is a responsibility we take very seriously.
Our commitment to safety is reflected in our excellent record: 99.99% of all BNSF hazardous material shipments are delivered without accidental release. Rail is a safer way to transport such materials than by truck—16 to 20 times safer based on the number of reported incidents, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. We invest billions of dollars each year to improve our operations, infrastructure and safety efforts, so we intend to keep rail a safe way to ship our clients’ products.
Heavy investment has been funneled into new and emerging technologies to further reduce risk and increase safety. BNSF has significantly invested in inspection and detection technology, including A.I. to detect rail defects, as well as emergency response programs. Learn more at: https://www.bnsf.com/in-the-community/safety-and-security/.
Tukwila, Other Industrial Lands, Must Be Preserved
As the Seattle region booms and the demand for more residential areas continue, industrial lands such as BNSF’s intermodal facility in Tukwila are scrambling to make sure they aren’t squeezed out.
Tukwila city leaders and BNSF officials are working together to ensure people understand that industrial lands must be preserved, or risk losing business in a globally-competitive market.
Facilities in the Seattle area are used by customers as far away as North Dakota, where soybean farmers currently utilize Tukwila to ship their product across the world. It’s a crucial link, not just to local customers, but regional and national as Washington is a gateway to global markets. Jobs are also at stake. BNSF employs approximately 170 workers at the Tukwila intermodal facility in addition to another 100 workers from vendors and service partners. They recently added another 100 workers to serve as switch crews.
According to a study commissioned by the Washington Council on International Trade and BNSF, freight rail adds $28.5 billion to Washington’s economy each year.
Giving Back to Our Communities
The BNSF Railway Foundation continues to support the communities across the 28 states through which BNSF operates, and where BNSF employees live, work and volunteer. Recent contributions include:
Enriching Green Spaces on Arbor Day
The BNSF Railway Foundation recently partnered with the Downtown Spokane Partnership and Arbor Day Foundation to enrich green spaces in downtown Spokane to celebrate Arbor Day. BNSF helped add greenery to planters in the downtown area for residents and visitors to enjoy. The planting sites include six raised planters at Riverfront Park, in what is the most significant renovation in the park’s history.
Supporting Outdoor Experiences for Youth
BNSF is striving to help provide children in Sandpoint, Idaho with outdoor experiences. Friends of Stidwell, part of the Sandpoint Kiwanis Club, recently received a grant of $8,325.00 from the BNSF Railway Foundation to develop a new campsite called Camp Wilderness. The campsite aims to offer kids hiking, camping and outdoor skills while teaching them to appreciate conservation, wilderness and the planet’s natural resources.
Touch-a-Truck with BNSF
The Women’s Service League of North Central Washington’s annual Touch-a-Truck fundraiser lets kids get up close and personal with dozens of different vehicles to learn about the machinery and the people who build, protect and serve Wenatchee. BNSF supported the event and was in attendance with a service truck to show kids how the vehicles keep our rails safe.
Celebrating Culture at Zoo for All
The BNSF Railway Foundation served as a sponsor for Woodland Park Zoo’s Zoo for All: Celebrating Our Cultures on May 18. The global-themed celebration gave the nearly 9,000 guests the opportunity to explore 30 different cultural organizations, resources and performers including musical and dance groups. Guests also had animal encounters and were able to meet with event sponsors at the resource fair.
Emergencies – Call 800-832-5452
To report a vehicle stalled on a crossing, suspicious circumstances, malfunctioning crossing gates and lights, or any other emergency, call 800-832-5452 immediately.
Have a Question for Us?
Do you have a question about BNSF or rail in the Pacific Northwest that you would like addressed in future issues of Inside Track? Send them to [email protected].