BNSF Releases Corporate Sustainability Report

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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BNSF has published its Corporate Sustainability Report for 2018-19, highlighting the railroad’s work in areas such as safety, growth and capability, efficiency, technology, people, and community.

Among the BNSF report’s highlights:

  • “2019 was the first time in our long history that we finished the calendar year without an employee fatality and at the time of this writing it has been over two years,” President and CEO Carl Ice and incoming President and CEO Katie Farmer wrote in a joint message. “This is a significant event that’s an important milestone and tells us our vision of operating a railroad free of accidents and injuries is attainable.”
  • To support railroad and customer growth, BNSF invested $3.6 billion during 2019 in core network and related asset maintenance and replacement; locomotive, freight car and other equipment acquisitions; and expansion and efficiency projects. That investment resulted in 350 bridge projects, about 515 miles of rail replacement, approximately 12,000 miles of track resurfacing/undercutting, and 2.3 million ties replaced.
  • Through advances in technology and locomotive upgrades, BNSF has reduced the locomotive fleet’s average emission rate of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) over the past decade. From 2015 through 2019, NOx and PM emissions decreased by more than 11% and 25%, respectively (see chart above).
  • In 2018, the California Air Resources Board awarded BNSF and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District a $22.6 million grant to develop a battery-electric locomotive. The Class I railroad is currently developing a prototype 100% battery-electric locomotive in collaboration with locomotive manufacturer Wabtec. When placed in a consist of Tier 4 locomotives, the set performs like a hybrid vehicle, according to BNSF. Initial testing will take place between Stockton and Barstow, Calif., in early 2021.
  • In 2019 and 2018, women and minorities comprised 36.8% and 40% of BNSF new hires, respectively. “We recognize a diverse and inclusive culture ensures that all our employees feel a part of the BNSF family,” the report noted.
  • In 2019 and 2018, the BNSF Railway Foundation gave more than $18 million to local and regional organizations in communities throughout the railroad’s network.

“We take great pride in moving the economy safely and efficiently, which positively impacts all of our stakeholders,” Vice President, Environmental John Lovenburg said. “Continually increasing our efficiency lowers emissions, decreases costs, and reinforces the reliability and safety of our network, which in turn supports our long-term vision of sustainably moving freight.”


Farmer recently spoke with Railway Age about becoming the first female chief executive of a Class I railroad, BNSF, on Jan. 1, 2021.

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