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BNSF moves first ag-product unit train from Minnesota to California

On April 4, Burlington Northern Santa Fe's first-ever agricultural-product unit train arrived in Barstow, Calif., seven days after departing Willmar, Minn.

The train carried animal feed, corn syrup, malt and ethanol for gasoline production.

A cross-functional team including BNSF's agricultural-products, bulk-foods, and economic-development group employees, and service-design and grain-desk workers spent three years developing the move.

BNSF previously moved various agricultural products from Minnesota and eastern South Dakota to southern California, but not on a single-unit train. Seven new Willmar-area ethanol plants provided the railroad enough product concentration to make a unit train viable.

Unit trains are designed to move more quickly and efficiently through a railroad's system. The BNSF train traveled to California without stopping for switch-outs in Kansas City, Mo., and Amarillo, Texas, according to a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/10/2003