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

SteamDonkey74 Dec 16, 2011

  1. railnut49

    railnut49 TrainBoard Member

    I used to railfan the Sante Fe RR yard in Winslow, AZ and the SF personel were friendly and helpful. From the parking lot there was a walkway that employees used to cross over into the yard and maintenence facilities, it was an overhead affair that went up over the four main line tracks, one west bound, one eastbound and two that whole trains stopped on to refuel the locomotives. SF personel let me sit on the overhead walkway to photograph trains in the yard and on the mainline. When SF was obsorbed by BN, all those priviledges were gone in a second, they didn't even want me walking along the outside of their right of way to take pictures and threatened me. We had some hot words, and they left having no authority over me where I was. BNSF is not a railfan friendly Railroad. I've always been a Sante Fe fan, but you will never find a BNSF loco on my layout. I had to go on up the track to Diablo Canyon to take photos of SF locomotives still in the original livery. Sorry, but i cannot say a word to convince you to railfan the BNSF RR.
  2. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

    Go to Crawford Hill, NE, grab a lawnchair, a cold beverage of choice, and listen to heavy (18,000-ton) coal trains grind up the hill. The sound and feel of that much power is enough to get the blood pumping on anyone that likes trains. If that ain't enough, go to MT, and hit up Marias Pass' west side. That 1.8% grade still rates manned helpers. The spectacular scenery and train frequency will get that twinkle back into your eye. BNSF still offers a wide array of motive power from trusty GP38-2's, rebuilt GP30's and SD40-2s to AC4400's, GEVOs, SD70MACs, SD70ACes, and leased/pooled power by the trainload. Toss in the H1, H2 and H3, BN & 2 flavors of ATSF paint schemes, and you have a bit of variety there too. It's not Cascade Green SD40-2s, SD45 and C30-7s, but it's better than a solid stream of Armour Yellow units.
  3. doofus

    doofus TrainBoard Supporter

    Try this.........Use a blindfold. Listen to the ribbon rail sing as the train approaches. Feel the ground shake beneath your feet. smell the diesel exhaust and if possible, the creosote in the ties. Take in more than just the sight of the locomotive. The thumping of flat spots on the wheels. The heat from the traction motors. The relief valves on the main reserviors venting air and water. The smell of brake shoes against the wheels. The sound of slack running in and out along the train. The sound of knuckles closing and pins dropping while the switch engine moves to and fro. Then remove the blindfold and wait for the next. It should give you a whole new perspective on watching trains! Never had a problem watching trains on the BNSF.....
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2012
  4. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    Doofus, that's a good point.
  5. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    here is some reasons in Phoenix

  6. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    As per loconotes, a bunch of the GP60Bs are back in service last reported as being in Spokane, so get on up to Vancouver Wa
  7. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

    Just found this thread and like reading the different takes.

    As a former BNSF employee, I left on my own and now have my own business, I may have a different perspective. Here in MT the BNSF seems to have a good rapport with the railfaning public, and I do a bit of it meself! watching the various power going out of Glendive east and up Beaver hill with a pusher on the back is a pounding rush!!! Seeing a train east of Terry on the old Milwaukee line to Mobridge, SD passing over one on the old NP line with the red badlands in the background is fun, too! Especially if you catch it from the highway underpass where all those sounds reverberate!!!! Up on the highline in old GN country when Amtrak blitzes by a standing train, that starts throttling up and moving while Amtrak is still going by is slick. And the Amtrak could have any kind of goofy lashup, having seen -2's with newer Genesis units!

    BNSF is doing what RR's do, moving stuff. There has been a change in mgmt style since the merger brought SF mgmnt into the BN corporation. Profitable, yes. Good, maybe. I hear things from freinds that still work for them and not all is well in the trenches betwixt labor and mgmnt. But that is a different discussion.

    Railfanning it, that IS the fun! So go out and watch them trains!!! Safely!! And do wave at the folks in the cab, it is a rough ride up there and can get ugly stressful at times!!
  8. Advertiser

    It was done ONCE. Not repeated yet.
  9. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    I originally wrote: Something about not needing any stinking BNSF running around on my layout. That still stands.

    Steam Donkey responded:

    Sorry, about that. I can't help... as I have fallen prey to the same disgust. Grin!

    Just putting in my own thoughts. My loyalties are to the old Santa Fe. I do visit Barstow from time to time to see what BNSF is up to. My favorite memories are just that memories...of a time past and no longer visible.

    As to my modeling, I'm doing my best to recreate the good times with Santa Fe as best, I can remember them.

    On the flip side, BN and SF was a good candidate for merger and as it panned out, it gave BN a much needed route into California, with access to two major ports. I would have liked to see the SP and SF merge but that was not to be. The end result UP and SP having merged, should of made Mr. Harriman very happy. You might hear him saying, "Finally Justice...Yes!"

    Just my two cents.
  10. GP9BN1799

    GP9BN1799 Permanently dispatched

    well i'm like you steamdonkey i lost a lot of interest in the bnsf until the last few weeks and today i caught a still fully lettered BN GP50 #3120 so i've been getting the bug again i'm posting the pics in the BNSF and the BN forums
  11. Jeff Powell

    Jeff Powell TrainBoard Member

    Interesting topic to say the least. Well I like railfanning, make, model, year whatever..I just like to watch trains. I have never had any problems taking pictures along any tracks yet and in one location, I was still in the ballast as a train came by after crossing a river channel bridge. Engineers just wave and a slight toot on the horn. I couldn'nt tell you one engine from another....I just like trains and don't get too deep in the tech end of these. I have modeled my HO layout with Santa Fe, BN, BNSF and UP and one SP. I like the older BN and Sante Fe units and hopefully soon an old school Frisco unit. This is from one of my favorite spots.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2012
  12. Nick Lorusso

    Nick Lorusso TrainBoard Member

    Steamdonkey I live in borg country, I used to enjoy seeing the BNSF local from Richmond, Ca to Warm Springs (Fremont) Ca local. Now I'm surrounded by Cal Train. So I consider you luck with BNSF & Shortlines. to watch. I would say pick up a pair of SD70aces and go from there.
  13. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

    Just had a blast last weekend following the BNSF main to Billings and then MRL to Helena for the Railfair. Saw a LOT of trains!! And that SLOW crawl up Bozeman pass is fun to watch whatever color is up front struggling! Especially since there was a snowstorm goiung on while we were heading west!

    Being a steam fan, it's not hard to put myself into the shoes opf an everyday railfan of those days, when most everything was black. Or maybe black. Even dark dingy dirty gray over black!

    And watching a steady diet of BN green -2's. Or -7 GE's. Followed by more of the same.

    Then sitting artound Iowa watching CNW -2's or -7's. And again.

    The point being, it's a matter of perspective. The good old days were just about the same as today, just different colors. So enjoy the trains of today, cause they will be gone tommorrow! Heck, there is a storage glut of 70MAC's and 60's here! All in BN breen or the exec BN scheme! And soon, they too will be gone.......

    Take time to enjoy the show!!!!
  14. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

    Adam, there's still a lot of vintage iron rolling around on the BNSF system. I photo not only locos but rolling stock. I'm always on the lookout for SD40s, older heritage schemes, and around here I see a lot of leased power including Mexican units and eastern stuff. Don't forget the EMD/Oakways units, I have a pretty good collection of those photos going. I'm not wild about stack trains, but still enjoy watching the beasts power past me, including midtrain or pushers.
  15. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

    And then there are the "un-stacked" trains. ;)
  16. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Still find an assortment of schemes too which is why I like fanning the line.


    Check out the Superfleet, H1, faded H2 and another H2. No power bars here! This was taken in June of 2011 on my way to Galesburg RR Days.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2012

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