October 2020 • The latest from the Pacific Northwest
Salmon Bay Rail Bridge Repairs Are Essential for Freight and Marine Traffic
Since the early 1900s, the BNSF Salmon Bay Rail Bridge has enabled freight and passenger trains to cross the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle. Commercial and recreational vessels pass under the bridge as they navigate between Lake Union and Puget Sound. Over the years, BNSF has invested millions to extend the operational life of the century-old bridge. However, frequent openings to accommodate marine traffic have taken a toll on the counterweight system. Diagnostics indicate that this system which allows the bridge to open and close is starting to fail.
BNSF originally looked at replacing the entire bridge structure, but with additional expert analysis and review, the railroad has developed a strategy to replace both the trunnion bearings that allow the counterweight to rotate and the steel and concrete that account for most of the counterweight. This approach will keep the majority of the Salmon Bay Rail Bridge—which is in good condition—intact, and safely address rehabilitation needs with the lowest environmental and community impact.
Ever wanted to get a closer look at a locomotive, a covered hopper or a centerbeam flatcar? These are just a few of the railcars that can be explored in three dimensions in BNSF’s virtual tour. Hop aboard the tour for unique views of the major types of BNSF railcars.
Every day, BNSF Railway operates thousands of trains across a 32,500-mile network in 28 states and three Canadian provinces. BNSF employees contribute to the U.S. economy by moving the goods people need in their daily lives. In a year, BNSF hauls enough grain to supply 900 million people with a year’s supply of bread and enough steel tonnage to build more than 200 Empire State Buildings. A new car or truck is loaded onto or unloaded from a BNSF train every 11 seconds.
In September, local emergency response officials coordinated with BNSF to practice deploying an oil containment boom on Lake Pend Oreille near Sandpoint, Idaho. A containment boom is a floating barrier used to contain an oil spill. Between BNSF, Montana Rail Link and Avista Utilities, approximately 24,000 feet of boom are located within two hours of Sandpoint.
The exercise provided an opportunity for first responders to practice using boom reels provided by BNSF to Bonner County. During the drill, thousands of feet of spill deflection boom were towed in large segments, fitted together and stretched across water between the railroad bridge and the US-95 Long Bridge. BNSF is committed to a safe and secure railroad network and provides this training free of charge for local communities.
The Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT) and BNSF are presenting the annual Keep Freight Moving Policy Panel on Monday, November 2 from 9:30 –11 am. In an increasingly interconnected economy, the ability to move goods reliably and quickly is essential for consumers, businesses, and public health. Hear about current challenges and opportunities from our experts, including Tom G. Williams of BNSF Railway, John Wolfe of The Northwest Seaport Alliance and Matt Morrison of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region. Registration is free and open to both WCIT and non-members.
Learn more and RSVP for the Keep Freight Moving Policy Panel here.
Supporting Our Communities
The BNSF Railway Foundation invests in the communities across the 28 states through which BNSF operates, and where BNSF employees live, work and volunteer. Recent donations include:
Supporting Camp Opportunities for Low-Income Youth
Camp Fire Central Puget Sound ignites a passion for nature, a commitment to service and a drive to succeed in 10,000 children and teens every year. Since 1915, kids have relied on Camp Fire for fun and educational experiences that develop their confidence, academic success, leadership and social skills. BNSF Railway Foundation’s contribution of $5,000 helps ensure that low-income youth are able to benefit from Camp Fire programs.
Improving Water Quality for Vancouver Lake
Friends of Vancouver Lake is dedicated to the long-term preservation and enhancement of Vancouver Lake as a valuable and irreplaceable community resource. BNSF Railway Foundation recently donated $25,000 toward the lake management plan to preserve its recreational purposes and economic potential.
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].