BNSF has been Washington’s primary freight railroad since 1873, moving many of the products coming in and out of the state that keep our economy moving. As part of the Great Northern Corridor that spans the northern U.S. to Chicago, Washington is a critical piece of our rail network.
BNSF helps farmers in the state deliver agricultural products, as well as goods, appliances and automobiles to businesses and retailers across the country—more than 1.8 million carloads of freight annually. Our rail network is used for passengers as well, including 10 Amtrak trains traveling between Seattle and Portland daily.
Washington will be a crucial link of our rail system for many years to come, as we continue to deliver American commodities to the West Coast for global distribution. BNSF expects to invest about $175 million into our Washington network and approximately $3.57 billion in capital expansion and maintenance across the system.
Join Us for Breakfast
The Washington Council on International Trade and BNSF are hosting the annual Keep Freight Moving Policy Breakfast at 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 29 at the Columbia Tower Club (701 5th Ave 75th Floor, Seattle, WA 98104). A panel discussion will highlight top investments and policies needed to keep Washington’s trade economy moving. Speakers include BNSF’s Chief Marketing Officer Steve Bobb, Port of Seattle Commissioner Courtney Gregoire, Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Director Monty Anderson and Pasco Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Colin Hastings. Learn more and RSVP at https://wcit.org/event/wcit-and-bnsf-present-keep-freight-moving-annual-freight-policy-luncheon/.
How Intermodal Saved Freight Rail
Rail was the preferred method for heavy hauling since the first railroad was chartered in 1827. However, by the 1970s, heavy-handed regulation left the freight rail industry unable to keep up with an increasingly global economy and pushed the industry toward collapse. At the time, freight came in all shapes and sizes and each piece needed to be individually loaded and unloaded. It was inefficient, expensive and time-consuming. A solution was required to keep heavy freight moving, and it came in the simple but revolutionary method of intermodal transportation.
The intermodal container introduced a standardized way to easily transfer freight between trucks, trains and barges. This reduced shipping time and cost, which helped launch the global economy we live in today.
Regulatory reform led the industry to pour billions into intermodal rail service—more than $685 billion between 1980 and 2018. The investment has paid off: The U.S. now boasts the most cost-effective and efficient intermodal rail network in the world. Today, 42% of rail carloads and intermodal units are directly associated with international trade. Learn more at https://www.aar.org/article/how-intermodal-reinvented-freight-rail.
A Photo Opportunity Isn’t Worth the Risk
The search for a perfect photo—or social media post—leads many to shoot on train tracks, but that isn’t the best idea. Not only is it trespassing, it’s a dangerous photo opportunity that can end in serious injury or even death.
The BNSF Railway Foundation helped fund a joint public safety fair in Sultan recently that was held by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Snohomish County Search and Rescue and Snohomish County Fire. The fair had an emphasis on spring and summer safety, as the nicer weather warms and people spend their days outdoors. BNSF brought the Operation Lifesaver Booth, as our tracks are near all outdoor activities in the Skykomish River Valley.
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:
Helping Children Access the Outdoors
The BNSF Railway Foundation issued a grant for $10,000 to the North Idaho College Foundation Children’s Center Outdoor Learning Environment. The Outdoor Learning Environment has helped student-parents with child care while they focus on their education. The grant benefits the NIC Children’s Center’s low-income families to ensure they have an outdoor space to imagine, explore and grow. Learn more at https://www.nic.edu/websites/default.aspx?dpt=18&pageId=1039. Connecting Communities with Services
The Sandpoint Resource Center’s Service Provider Information Network (SPIN) is a network that makes community resources more easily accessible for Sandpoint, Idaho residents living in poverty. It’s a collaborative system of more than 200 service providers in Bonner and Boundary counties that serves over 10,000 households. The BNSF Railway Foundation distributed a $5,000 grant to ensure low-income families can access the services they need. Learn more at https://www.sandpointcommunityresource.com/spin.
Funding Outdoor Recreation
Camp Stidwell is a mecca for youth activities and adult recreation at the southern end of Mirror Lake in Bonner County, Idaho. To ensure future generations can enjoy Camp Stidwell, the BNSF Railway Foundation provided an $8,235 grant. The funds will enhance youth wilderness activities.
Remembering the Great War and its Impact
To commemorate the centennial of Armistice Day, The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) hosted the exhibit “WWI America,” a display featuring original artifacts and multi-media presentations. The exhibit explored the stories of Americans during the Great War and its lasting impact on American life and society. The BNSF Railway Foundation donated $5,000 to MOHAI in support of the exhibit and the Puget Sound regional Armistice Day Centennial Commemoration.
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].