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4/10/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

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.


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