Please convince me to become a fan of a current BNSF mainline service locomotive

SteamDonkey74 Dec 16, 2011

  1. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

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    BNSF is one of two major railroads serving my hometown. I really want to like BNSF more. Some positive things about it include the BNSF is way more accommodating to excursions involving historic locomotives like SP 4449, which lives here, than the other major Class I in the area. BNSF runs a lot of freight and BNSF has a yard between my house and my workplace.

    I am a big fan of the BN predecessor railroads and I have a soft spot for the Santa Fe, too. Burlington Northern was finally starting to grow on me a bit with their Cascade Green locomotives and then the merger happened and I just got confused. It seems like every couple years there's a new paint scheme, and so far I haven't become a huge fan of any of them. I could probably like the swoosh one if I were somehow assured it'd still be in use in a few years, but I don't know that.

    Well, as someone who is a big fan of Alcos and first generation Geep and SD's I see precious few of these anymore, and none of them in BNSF service. If you have really strong feelings about your favorite GevoSD90ES44DCMAC-9-whatever that BNSF runs in mainline service today please tell me what it is and what makes that locomotive distinctive to you and convince me that I should become a fan. This is all meant in fun, and I am hoping to gain new-found appreciation for these ubiquitous saftey-cab fronted beasts.

    Thanks,
    Adam
     
  2. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

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    Well, I dunno... I never see any BNSF unless it's some leased power on an NS train... an accident of geography. But it at least seems that BNSF is a bit more formally railfan-friendly than some of the other Class 1's ... I mean, they have their "Friends of BNSF" website and their "Citizens for Rail Security" thing... I don't see the other railroads doing much along these lines...

    Oh, you were talking more about the locos, not the company. My bad. Umm... I do see those same engines (mostly GEVOS and Dash-9s and SD70s) in CSX and NS... they're big and powerful, but they all kind of look the same. I guess the safety regs push them to similar designs... I'm far from an expert, but it's pretty easy to tell a U-boat from a Geep or an Alco at a glance... not so much with the newer beasts. I'm learning, but it's a lot like trying to pick a Toyota from a Honda... You have to know what to look for (not that it's hard to learn).

    Sorry... I guess I'm not much help...
     
  3. CarlH

    CarlH TrainBoard Member

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    BNSF runs what might be the only 8-wheel widecab mainline loco, their GP60M, teaming them with what might be the last B-units made as new locos. This video shows an interesting combination of the old Santa Fe warbonnet and the newer BNSF paint scheme together in the same consist:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPnVO326Ztg
     
  4. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nope, I ain't goin to do it.

    You don't need not stinking BNSF running around on your layout.

    I prefer the Santa Fe era when times were exciting, passenger trains ran regularly and the freight business was booming.

    It don't matter to me what you run on your railroad pike. Just run something and have fun doing it.
     
  5. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Rick, this isn't about running something on my layout, but about getting more excited about going out and watching modern trains. Right now, most of what I watch are shortline trains and things like special steam excursions. I don't really go out watching mainline Class I freight because I have a hard time getting excited about locomotives that, to me, all look alike, no weird sputters or pops or sounds or clouds of black smoke, and strings of intermodal containers. I am hoping someone can share their passion for a particular kind of locomotive used in modern Class I freight service.

    Carl, That GP60M/B thing is compelling. Those are just odd enough compared to everything else running out there that they could make a strong candidate for interest. Thank you for that.
     
  6. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Adam....the BNSF still has some turntables.....other than that....NOTHING
     
  7. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, in my mind, and at least on the BNSF in my part of the country, the VARIETY of locos and schemes is what is cool. I mean, as was mentioned....seeing a GP60M is a treat! Or any silver warbonnet especially those that are still in decent shape paint-wise. (not many, but...) Also, there's always foreign power....KCS, NS, CSX, FerroMex, TFM....even MRL, CN, etc on occasion. The other day I saw trio of GE's, elephant style....first was H1, second was H2, and third was H3/Swoosh. That's pretty high up there on the cool factor.

    Regarding specific BNSF locos, I have to say that I love the SD70ACe's...the distinctive "notched nose" front end just looks TOUGH....like a bulldog...GRRRRR!!!! Don't BNS-F with me!!!! My alltime favorite locos are the SD40-2 and SD70MAC's so those will still get the blood pumping for me. Cascade Green SD40-2's are scarce and the MAC's are mostly pretty faded but it's all good...still love 'em.

    Honestly, just stand by the tracks (safe distance of course!) and close your eyes and feel the rumble...who cares what they look like then! HORSEPOWER, baby!!!!! Argh-argh-argh!!!!
     
  8. Logtrain

    Logtrain TrainBoard Member

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    Not for long. BNSF has been putting regular spartan cabs on the GP60Bs and putting them into local service.
     
  9. theteejmiester

    theteejmiester New Member

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    Lets see here, well I have seen the BNSF up close and personal many times over the last ten years. And it has taken me all of those ten years to get to the point where I am even interested in modeling it. It is a big railroad,lots of different types of locos in my local area,SD40-2s still in BN green switch the yard here. Pretty cool to see. The GEVO's are a impressive sight regardless of whether you like them or not hauling a** with 90 car freights in tow. and my local yard(in klamath falls) still has a turn table in plain sight from the south 6th street bridge in down town. IMO the BNSF has a lot more going for it than the UP and all of its plain armor yellow crap I see :) from a railfans perspective anyways.
     
  10. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Doug, you make a compelling case there. Thank you for those visualizations. This is just what I am talking about.

    Cwwrman, spartan cabs? Could it be true? I miss all the spartan cabs, almost as much as I miss the high-nose SD-9s, which I can still see in Oregon but only in shortline service.

    Teej, you are about where I am, I think, trying to appreciate what is out there more. The SD40-2 locos are very cool.
     
  11. Logtrain

    Logtrain TrainBoard Member

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  12. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    BNSF operates locomotives built by the cheapest bidder. They are meant to pull long,heavy trains long distances and operate frequently. The main reason for air-conditioning in the cabs is to keep the I.C.E. electronics from overheating. Crew amenities are the minimum required by statute.The same for the safety and operating appliances. The railroad doesn't care what you or I think about their motive power. The paint jobs are primarily to protect the metal from corrosion. The carrier is only concerned about the readability of the locomotive number and its identifying initials. They dont want you or I to be very close to either the locomotives or railroad property. I ran those things. If I didn't like something and it was NOT an FRA violation, that was too bad. Either run the damn thing or go home and wait for your investigation notice to arrive and tell you that regardless of what happens at the investigation, you will most likely be fired. There is no "romance" in the modern locomotives. They are not meant to be. They are just cohesive piles of scrap metal that will be run until they quite literally fall apart. Sorry to sound so negative, but that's the way it is.

    Charlie
     
  13. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

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    That might be a "glass half full" perspective, yep :tb-biggrin:

    But really I don't think there has ever been a railroad that spent any more than necessary to keep the trains running. Like any business, they exist to make a profit.
    I have to disagree with you on your perceived "lack of romance" in modern locomotives though. The railroad's business practices notwithstanding, I find plenty of romance in them, from having a grandfather and father that rode them to the hair standing up on my neck when one rumbles by.
     
  14. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Well, the government squeezed the railways by forcing them to run unpopular passenger trains until they paid the government to let them stop, then the government added insult to injury by refusing to run those 'vital' trains itself. And then it let the corporations take over the country so that individual shippers pretty much don't exist any more. So, what's the percentage in maintaining the old romance?
     
  15. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow. Way inappropriate rant for this topic. When you get back from telling all the children at the local mall that there's no such thing as Santa Claus, maybe you can give us more fun tidbits about how sucky it is to work for a railroad. Excepting those that live under a rock, everyone knows working for the railroad sucks...not a big news flash.

    Perhaps you missed the part of the o.p.'s post about "this is all meant in fun"?
     
  16. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, maybe so. But then again, maybe the man just wanted to encourage the OP to go ahead and be an amateur historian, and pick an era he can be enthused about, no? Model railroading is a lot of work if you're not having fun doing it, after all...
     
  17. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    A good friend of mine worked for that other humungous western railroad until recently when he finally retired. He put up with all the negatives of working for a large company that was bent on eking out profits anyway they could, in order to do what he loved most in life. Running trains!!! When he was not working he volunteered at a local tourist railroad running trains for no pay. He still does that.
     
  18. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    No Doug, I didnt miss the point of it being all in fun. There is no romance in it anymore. I am telling it like it is! If you like railroad...Fine! Outside of the thrill of a passing train,there is almost nothing to like. Trains are rubber stamps of each other. You have stack trains, trailer trains,coal trains, bare table trains,tank car trains,ore trains and the occasional mixed freight which has almost NO priority on the movement schedule. Now how picturesque and stylish is that? Railroads are becoming as bad as airlines in their management style and philosophy. I worked for a major "legacy" airline for just over 25 years so I am well acquainted with that industry. I still get a charge from watching a train go by and I still wave to the engineer. I was one of them. I consider myself fortunate for it. I too am a restoration museum volunteer, at a trolley museum. Unfortunately I have precious little,if any, time to devote to that. It is a slice of American history and that is our mission there to educate the public as to what it was that helped make America the great place it is to live. Railfans and model railroaders are becoming a dying breed,better than half the guys in my model RR club are retired! Railroaders themselves are in danger of becoming an extinct breed with R/C operation and PTC technology. If you're a railroader,enjoy your job while you still have one. The carriers are doing their best to eliminate you. Get active in your union and fight to save your jobs and your industry. Corporate parsimony of the carriers will be their own undoing. This is a railfanning board. Railfans need to know just what the reality is. The truth is that the carriers would just as soon not have you anywhere within whistle distance of their trains. Enjoy your hobby while you can, there is a very good chance your grandchildren won't know what a train is. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you.
    Wave at the next railroad crew you see in a passing train. You are witnessing the passing of a dinosaur!
     
  19. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Let's be clear...there is no romance in it for YOU anymore. There are plenty of people that still love trains, there are plenty of young model railroaders and railfans that happen to like the current railroad scene, and plenty of railroaders that manage to do their job and understand that what they're doing is hard work and don't complain about it. Personally, I love coal drags and intermodal trains and modern diesels. Steam locomotives are what most people consider the epidemy of the romantic "golden years" of railroading but I could care less about them. Don't get me wrong I am VERY interested in their preservation and their history, but from a railfanning and modelling standpoint....nothing. You seem very interested in telling us what we should like based on what YOU like, and what YOU think about an industry that isn't going anywhere, and trying to project YOUR bitterness to the rest of the railfanning and model railroading world. Well guess what, it's not all about YOU. For every one of YOU, the bitter railroader, I know 20 that are proud of their job, and are glad to have or have had a career in railroading.

    Tough crap. I don't care what they want.
     
  20. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    I know many, if not all of you, may be upset at my rant, but let me tell you this...Trains are my life!
    Trains are in my earliest memories.My father was a locomotive fireman in his youth,his father was a locomotive engineer and railroad inventor. I still have one of his inventions and the paperwork for it! I cannot imagine my world without trains. I LOVE trains so much that I was FINALLY able to get a railroad job where I could be on or near trains almost every day. The industry was good to me and provided me with an income that actually raised the standard of living for my family.The carriers have become obsessed with finding their employees breaking the rules.
    Before the era of PDAs and hand held I-pads, I was carrying around 20lbs of RULE BOOKS! Don't break a single one of the rules in those books and be caught breaking it! You WILL be fired. You may or may not get your job back. Don't be sick more than three times in any consecutive 3 month period or you're liable to be fired. 9/11/2001 changed the railroad world too! It's just not what it used to be,enjoy it if and while you can. In spite of it all I still LOVE trains!

    Charlie
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2011

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