A four-year, multi-faceted project to widen a single-track chokepoint on BNSF’s Northern Corridor at Sandpoint, Idaho, is now complete, following the cutover of new track during a 16-hour work window on Aug.
Author: Bruce E. Kelly
Progress is well under way on structural upgrades to BNSF’s 119-year-old Bridge 3.9A over Lake Pend Oreille outside Sandpoint, Idaho. The completion in November 2022 of the adjacent 4,873-foot long Bridge 3.9B
Forty years ago, in September 1983, Southern Pacific launched a new service to haul crude oil from well sites in central California to a refinery south of Los Angeles. Some called it
Severe winter conditions were blamed for Amtrak suspending a number of its long-distance and regional trains across the nation’s Northern Tier and Midwest during the Christmas holiday week. Then came West Coast cancellations in the wake of heavy rains and flooding during the first week of January.
Amtrak’s long-distance Empire Builder trains originating in Seattle, Portland, and Chicago on 12/20 and 12/21 have been cancelled due to severe winter weather that is expected for large segments of the route.
Fifty years after Burlington Northern consolidated the traffic of two predecessor routes onto a single line featuring a nearly mile-long bridge near Sandpoint, Idaho, successor BNSF has opened its long-anticipated second bridge. The first train to officially cross the new structure was an empty coal train at 9:00 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2022.
Contractors working for BNSF Railway installed the final deck girder segment on the nearly one-mile-long bridge across Lake Pend Oreille near Sandpoint, Idaho, during the first half of August. Under construction since
Imagine waking one day to hear the news that Canadian Pacific Railway, in its quest to expand market reach, has acquired hundreds of miles of Union Pacific trackage in the northwestern United States. Relax. No such deal has been announced—at least not yet.
The first signs of physical progress have been made in BNSF Railway’s long-awaited plan to build a second bridge, nearly a mile in length, running parallel to its existing bridge across Lake Pend Oreille near Sandpoint, Idaho. Preliminary grading began in September 2019 on both sides of the lake to prepare the approaches to the new bridge. Within the city of Sandpoint itself, grade work has included the construction of a pedestrian tunnel—paid for by BNSF—which will safely maintain public access through railroad property to a popular beach and lakeside trail.
The derailment of two separate oil trains roughly two months apart near Guernsey, Sask., each spilling more than 300,000 gallons of crude onto the ground and one igniting into a smoldering inferno, plus the resulting 30-day mandatory speed limit on such trains imposed by Transport Canada (20 mph in urban areas, 25 mph elsewhere), have raised questions about not only the cause of those derailments, but also about the durability of the tank cars, and the volatility of the crude they were carrying. It should also raise questions, and awareness, about the transport of Canadian crude on the U.S. rail system.