Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Burlington Northern Railroad
The Burlington Northern was the product of a 1970 merger comprising the Great Northern Railway, the Northern Pacific Railway, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway. Consent for this merger came only on the fourth attempt dating back to the days of James J. Hill, but for many years they shared a headquarters building in Saint Paul, Minnesota until the merger was finally approved. In 1980 the former St. Louis and San Francisco Railway was acquired. In 1981 corporate headquarters of parent Burlington Northern Inc. were moved to Seattle, Washington, and in 1988, after its non-rail operations were spun off as Burlington Resources, to Fort Worth, Texas.
In 1995, the Burlington Northern merged with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) to form the new Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), the second largest railroad in the United States by track mileage.
The Burlington Northern traversed the most northerly route of any railroad in the western United States. This route started at Chicago, Illinois and ran west-northwest to La Crosse, Wisconsin. From here the route continued northwest through Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota to Grand Forks, North Dakota. From Grand Forks the route ran west through North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho to Spokane, Washington. At Spokane the route split into two routes, one going to Seattle, Washington and another to Portland, Oregon. This route required construction of the Flathead Tunnel through the Rocky Mountains in Montana and the Cascade Tunnel through the Cascade Mountains in Washington.
Rolling stock notes
The Burlington Northern's locomotive livery painted the top quarter or so of the locomotive black and the rest green, with a white 'BN' logo. Often, the front of the locomotive was striped with white and green for visibility.
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