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March 1997 - Page 87


TRA C K B U L L E T I N

B u r l i n gton Northern I S anta Fe
MERGER
E Pluribus Unum
Q uietly, and without a public announcement, the Atchison, Topeka & S a n t a Fe Rai lway Company form a l l y m e rged into Burl ington Northern Railroad on Dec. 3 1 , 1 996. I n this new year, BN's new name is The Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Company; it re mains incorporated in Delaware. nately, the rai lroad had foreseen this contin gency; under the sale contract, Santa Fe held $ 1 0 million of the purchase price in escrow to fund track repairs. O p e r a t i o n s to P i n e B l u rf, A r k . , from Memphis over the Cotton Belt commenced on Dec. 1 7 . Train M-PFME I is scheduled to leave Pine Bluff daily at 2 a . m . , arriving at Tennessee Yard at 1 0 a . m . following its 1 49-mile run . Counterpart M-MEPF I leaves Memphis at 1 0 a.m. daily and arrives in Pine Bluff at 4 : 3 0 p.m. The first run, according to UP O N L I N E , took place o n the evening of Dec. 1 5 , b u t the first consist recorded in the BN computer was the M-PFME 1 - 1 7 on Dec. 1 7 wi th BN GP39Es 2 7 76 and 2935 running light. Another track age rights operation beginning mid-month was service to Warm Springs, Ca l i f. Familiariza tion runs for Santa Fe crews began as early as Dec. 1 2, when Santa Fe DASH 8-40CWs 9 1 5 and 870 were heard receiving track warrants from SP's WR-58 dispatcher and spotted run ning north on the SP main line at East Oak land Yard. The first run of local L-VA I 03 took place on Dec. 1 6, but because Santa Fe had no traffic for Warm Springs, the local delivered 30 cars to SP at Oakland instead-after being delayed by track problems at the connection at S t e ge-and returned to Richmond Yard as light locomotives. Power for the first run was reported as Santa Fe GP60M 1 0 1 and GP50 3 8 34 , and operations a re scheduled to take place during the day. The s e t t l em e n t agreement gave U P the right to establish rates on traFfic from eastern Washington, and grain is beginning to move s o u t h to SP p o i n t s . On D e c . I I , Wishram Yard (in Wishram, Wash . ) originated an 056 7 1 WR- I 0 train of grain cars moving on SP billing to Klamath Falls, Ore.

BNSF TRACKAG E R I G HTS
New Orleans Service Begins
B urlington Northern & Santa Fe extended i ts rail system on Dec. 1 6, when it implemented another phase of the Union Pacific-Southern Pacific merger settlement. On that date, BNSF paid U P $ 1 00 m i l lion for the 1 90-mile seg ment of SP's Sunset Route between Iowa Junc tion and Avondale, La . , including the West wego I ntermodal fac i l i ty near New Orleans that UP i s selling as part of t he settlemen t . Service t o New Orleans began that afternoon, when t h e f i r s t t r a i n H - H O N O I d e p a r t e d Houston for t h e Crescent City. The inaugural run, led by Santa Fe G P 3 8 2 346 and G P 3 5 2886, consisted o f j us t three loads a n d four empties as it departed Houston's New South Yard. The route of the new trains is somewhat unexpected, using S P 's Rabbit line between Houston and Cleveland and Santa Fe's Conroe Sub between Cleveland and S i l sbee, Texas, where crews change. The power for the first train changed at Silsbee as wel l , as Santa Fe GP35s 2876 and 2893 took command. From Silsbee, the first train traveled south on Santa Fe's S i l sbee S u b to Beaumont , at which point it measured five loads, one empty and 54 1 tons. At Beaumont it turned east, us ing trackage rights on SP's Sunset Route to Iowa Junction and Santa Fe's newly purchased trackage beyond to Avondale Yard, with crews changing again at Lafayette. The H - H O N O I is s c h e d u l e d t o d e p a r t Houston daily at 5 p.m. a n d arrive in CSX's Gentilly Yard in New Orleans at I : 3 0 on the second morning. Trains departing on Monday, for example, arrive on Wednesday, providing an elapsed schedule of 32 hours, 30 minutes for the 404-mile trip. Eastbound train H-NO H O I i s scheduled out of G e n t i l l y d a i l y at noon, arriving Houston at I I p.m. on the sec ond night for a 3 5-hour trip. The first H -NO H O I departed on Dec. 1 8. When Santa Fe took over the I owa Junc tion-Avondale line, i t found (not surprisingly) that SP had stopped spending money on track maintenance ome time before. In three loca tions, including downtown New I beria, deteri orated track in road crossings had cut s a fe train speeds to 1 0 mph. Santa Fe immediately sent crews out to patch u p the line, which should permit the pokey schedules of the H HON O I and H -NOHO I to accelerate. Fortu-

STAMPEDE PASS
Opened on lime
The first train to traverse the recently rejuvenat ed route over Stampede Pass departed Auburn, Wash., at 7 a.m. on Dec. 7. The string of 1 1 0 grain empties, symboled 0 1 -GAUPS-07 (Auburn t o Pasco), was powered b y DASH 944CWs 1 029, 1 039, and 1 040. Despite a recent h eavy snowfa l l in the Cascades ( u p to four feet ) , the train's only difficulty was a I S-minute delay at West Easton to check for an air leak.

* A NEW VIDEO RELEASE FROM PLETS EXPRESS! *

most beautiful a n d scenic In this video you'll see one of the segments on the entire BN. Witness the Burlington Northern as it travels 300 m iles along the mighty Mississippi with its majestic bluffs rising high above the river. The show starts i n Minneapolis and St. Paul and travels south through the picturesque river communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin to Savanna, I L. The exciting, fast paced BN action includes yard, local and mainline freights. See the BN as they haul intermodal, general freight and unit trains of coal, taconite, grain and autos. As an added feature you'll also see the connecting roads of the: Soo, C P, C&NW, WSOR, CC&P, IC, G B&W, M N N R , and TC&W. Plus Canadian National run thrus and the Milwaukee Road steamer # 261 w ith passenger cars heading north for the Twi n Cities. This video then finishes with a look a t the G reat Northern inspired paint scheme and trains on the new BNSF.

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R aiiNews 87

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