March 31, 2015

BNSF adds new safety rules for crude oil trains

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OMAHA – BNSF Railway Co. has started taking additional safety measures for crude oil shipments because of four recent high-profile derailments in the U.S. and Canada, the railroad said Monday. Under the changes, BNSF is slowing down crude oil trains to 35 mph in cities with more than 100,000 people and increasing track inspections near [...]

BNSF to begin using aerial drones with cameras

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Website Xconomy.com is reporting that BNSF Railway will begin using aerial drones equipped with cameras to “conduct regular inspections of railway infrastructure and rights of way.” According to the Federal Aviation Administration website, any operation that does not meet the statutory criteria for a public aircraft operation is considered a civil aircraft operation and must [...]

BNSF faces penalty on hazmat spill reporting rules

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington state rail safety regulators March 19 recommended BNSF Railway Company be penalized for failing to timely report multiple hazardous material spills along state railways. The Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) issued the formal complaint following a staff investigation into BNSF’s failure to report 14 releases of various hazardous materials, including crude [...]

BNSF announces plans to expand capacity

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BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) Jan. 15 announced more details about the major capital projects it plans to complete in 2015 to maintain and grow its rail network. In BNSF’s North Region, the company will invest approximately $1.5 billion across eight states for engineering maintenance and line expansion projects, of which approximately $700 million* is planned [...]

BNSF announces $6B capital expenditures for 2015

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BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) today announced that its planned capital expenditures for 2015 will be $6 billion, which will go toward maintenance and expansion of the railroad in order to meet the expected demand for freight rail service. The 2015 plan marks the third year in a row that BNSF has committed a record amount [...]

Buffett’s BNSF has turned into a cash machine

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Days after Warren Buffett announced his US$26.5 billion buyout of railroad BNSF, he insisted that he’d paid a steep price to own a business that would benefit his company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., over the next century. “You don’t get bargains on things like that,” he said in a November 2009 interview with Charlie Rose that [...]

Member dies in Colorado switching accident

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A SMART Transportation Division member was killed on the job Wednesday (Oct. 9) afternoon in a railroad switching accident at a Colorado Springs, Colo., industrial complex. According to media reports, BNSF Railway conductor Dawn Trettenero, 42, was trapped between two rail cars. Firefighters told Television Station KKTV that they arrived within minutes of being notified [...]

Railroads sue California over new crude oil rules

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California’s two major railroad companies have filed suit in federal court challenging a state law requiring railroads to come up with an oil spill prevention and response plan. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, contends federal laws largely prohibit states from imposing safety rules on railroads such as the ones [...]

BNSF to invest $235M in Washington state

BNSF Railroad will invest $235 million in its system in Washington state this year, nearly double the amount invested in 2013. This suggests that the company is continuing to upgrade a system that supported $28.5 billion in state economic activity, according to a study released Monday. Read the complete story at Puget Sound Business Journal.

BNSF crew proposal was defeated by 5-1 margin

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Of 3,679 ballots returned, 3,056 were in opposition to the crew consist agreement. Nearly the same number of ballots cast were in opposition to a wage and rule settlement offered by the carrier. Under the proposal, engineers would have received a pay boost, and conductors would have been given the opportunity to become engineers. It [...]