October 2018 • The latest from the Pacific Northwest
North Idaho First Responders Practice Spill Response
North Idaho first responders engaged in two days of successful containment boom deployment practice on the Pend Oreille River at Sandpoint, Idaho. Working in conjunction with Bonner County, DEQ, ITD and EPA, BNSF and oil spill response organizations trained staff in the use of newly acquired containment boom reels. Each reel holds 2,000 feet of boom and can be deployed much more quickly than previous systems.
During the exercise, more than 6,000 feet of boom was deployed in less than two hours. With the addition of the new boom reels, there is now 24,000 feet of boom available that can be deployed to an emergency anywhere within two hours of Sandpoint. BNSF and our oil spill response organizations will continue drilling and training local first responders to improve response times and equipment familiarity.
New Rail Bridge Planned for Lake Washington Ship Canal
BNSF is planning for the replacement of the rail bridge which spans the Lake Washington Ship Canal between Seattle’s Magnolia and Ballard neighborhoods. The bridge is a critical link to BNSF’s network to the north, south and east. About 30 to 40 trains cross the bridge daily, including Sounder and Amtrak passenger trains. Manufacturers, distributors and retailers depend on daily rail shipments that cross the bridge to supply their operations. Shipments to and from the ports of Seattle and Tacoma rely on the rail line that depends on the bridge.
Built in 1913, BNSF has invested millions of dollars to maintain and upgrade the bridge over the years to extend its operational life. But now, after more than 100 years of service, a new bridge is the best strategy to ensure continuing rail use of the crossing and vessel transit through the canal. In 1948, the steel counterweight truss on the bridge broke. When this occurred, the bridge was stuck in the open position for six months. At the time, our predecessor railroad had another route for train traffic. That route no longer exists. There is concern that what occurred in 1948 could happen again as BNSF is seeing fatigue of the counterweight truss and the trunnion bearings wearing out. If BNSF leaves the existing bridge in place and makes only minor repairs as necessary, the bridge will continue to deteriorate, resulting eventually in a failure like what occurred in 1948.
BNSF is currently working with the US Coast Guard to solicit feedback from the maritime community about the proposed design of the new bridge. The proposed design is a vertical lift span, which would have 155 feet of vertical clearance. We are seeking input from the maritime community to ensure the vertical clearance meets current and future needs for vessels. More details can be found from the US Coast Guard at: content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDHSCG/bulletins/2114a55.
Spokane/Hauser Terminal teams up with Boys & Girls Club of Spokane
Before the start of the new school year, BNSF employees from the Spokane/Hauser Terminal spent an afternoon filling backpacks with school supplies for children in need. Over the course of an afternoon, 20 BNSF employees filled 26 backpacks. Each backpack was filled with traditional school supplies such as notebooks, binders, highlighters and pencils, but volunteers also packed a few fun items for students, like a BNSF stress football and a flashlight.
This isn’t the first time the Spokane/Hauser Terminal has volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club of Spokane. Earlier this year, BNSF employees helped build bikes for local children, and in November the Spokane/Hauser Terminal will be soliciting donations for snow boots.
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].