September 2021 • The latest from the Pacific Northwest
BNSF Railway Foundation Improve Red Cross Emergency Response
A new emergency response vehicle for the American Red Cross Greater Inland Northwest Chapter was recently unveiled thanks to a $50,000 donation from the BNSF Railway Foundation. The donation was made in 2019 but production of the emergency response vehicle was delayed due to COVID-19 and related supply chain issues. Its August arrival in Spokane means it can now be used for disaster relief across the nation.
Emergency response vehicles enable the Red Cross to transport lifesaving blood to patients, get emergency supplies to disaster sites, transport volunteers to areas of need and bring comfort items to hospitalized service members. These vehicles are also used in disasters situations such as wildfires, power outages and flooding to deliver food, cleanup supplies and other essentials to those in need.
The unveiling event was attended by Lena Kent, BNSF Executive Director of Public Relations, pictured here with Red Cross Greater Inland Northwest Chapter Executive Director Ryan Rodin.
Taking Railway History for a Spin: Turntables Have Been a ‘Round’ Since the 1830s
Turntables aren’t just for records! In fact, they were used for locomotives long before they were spinning your favorite classics. Use of turntables to turn locomotives dates back to the 1830s, many years before the phonograph was invented in 1877. Record players may have since been replaced with media players and mobile devices, but turntables on the railroad remain in rotation.
The earliest use for a turntable was to redirect trains. The very first locomotives could only run in one direction, so a device was needed to turn them. Even with bi-directional trains today, turntables are still used as a convenient means for moving locomotives and other equipment onto tracks headed in the correct direction.
Sandpoint Junction Connector Project is Underway and on Schedule
Construction of the new BNSF railroad bridge across Lake Pend Oreille is proceeding on schedule. Pile driving has been substantially completed over the lake, and construction crews are starting to install pier caps and bridge girders. During these last summer days, BNSF reminds boaters and recreationists to avoid the construction area and provide a wide berth to equipment on the lake.
The new bridge will allow for more fluid rail traffic management through the corridor, and it will allow traffic to continue to flow while BNSF performs its regularly planned inspection and maintenance of the bridges. With this in mind, BNSF has identified maintenance work to occur once the new bridge is operational, estimated for 2023-2024.
BNSF plans to replace eight bridge spans on the existing bridge using the existing work trestle at Dog Beach. This will eliminate the need to construct a second work trestle strictly dedicated to supporting the maintenance work. BNSF has applied for a permit from the U.S. Coast Guard to cover this activity and is working closely with state and federal regulatory agencies to ensure the highest levels of environmental protection.
BNSF Railway Recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers for Women 2021
Forbes recently released their list of best employers for women, and BNSF Railway ranks in the top ten of American employers. BNSF has demonstrated support for female talent through several programs. For example, because the railroad was on the front lines of the pandemic delivering critical supplies, work demand and shift schedules created challenges for some women. To address this, BNSF invested in new benefits, including breast-milk shipping.
The railroad is also a leader in the industry when it comes to women in top positions. BNSF named Kathryn Farmer CEO in September 2020, making her the first woman to helm a major North American railway.
To compile the list of best employers for women, Statista surveyed 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees, including 30,000 women.
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:
Building Places for Safe and Fun Play
Valley View Elementary School in Bonners Ferry, ID values academic and behavioral excellence and play! Increased physical activity during the school day can help children’s attention, classroom behavior and achievement test scores. To support positive outcomes, BNSF Railway Foundation recently contributed toward Valley View’s kindergarten playground project.
Providing Community Spaces for Personal Growth
American-Hellenic Educational Center is a community service based in Portland, OR that provides quality facilities in a unique setting for community organizations, schools and families to grow intellectually, culturally, spiritually and physically. The organization’s services include camp facilities and meeting facilities, and a recent grant from BNSF Railway Foundation will go toward a recreational sports court.
Supporting Strong Home Foundations for Neighbors in Need
The Community Warehouse operates furniture banks in Portland and Tualatin, OR, connecting essential furnishings to neighbors in need through unique community partnerships and creating stronger home foundations and brighter futures for all. The organization collects donated home goods and works with social service agencies to deliver the goods to those who need it most. BNSF Railway Foundation made a donation for furniture delivery services to support the Warehouse in fulfilling its mission of using furniture to help families in need get back on their feet.
Preserving the Historic Cheney Depot in Partnership with the Community
The Cheney Depot, once the center of the small Washington town, was safely moved to its new home on private property last year. Built in 1929, the Spanish Eclectic-styled depot was saved from demolition through the coordinated efforts of BNSF and the Cheney Depot Society. BNSF gifted the depot and also recently made a donation toward a trackside safety barrier. The Cheney Depot Society plans to restore the depot so that it can open as a new business.
Improving Communications for Emergency Medical Services
Klickitat County EMS District No. 1 provides 24-hour advance life support 9-1-1 response throughout the Washington county. In addition to emergency calls for service, they also provide hospital to hospital specialty care transfers. A recent grant from BNSF Railway Foundation will help improve district communications, critical during emergency situations.
Bringing Rail and Maritime History to Life for All Ages
The Foss Waterway Seaport is Puget Sound’s maritime heritage education and event center where families, groups and communities come to discover, explore, learn and play. The Seaport offers exhibits and hands-on activities for a wide range of ages and provides opportunities to learn how the people, boats and industries that built the heart of Tacoma, WA have shaped the future of the region. BNSF Railway Foundation recently contributed toward a refresh of the Seaport’s “Where Rails met Sails” exhibit.