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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BNSF to generate business from proliferation of wind power


Burlington Northern Santa Fe is tapping a potential new market — wind power-generation.

Last month, the Class I moved its first wind-tower unit train for Vestas American Wind Technology Inc. The 60-car train traveled from West Fargo, N.D., to a Denver interchange with Union Pacific Railroad, which completed the move to Evanston, Wyo.

Tower sections were carried on 89-foot flat cars, which included special welded-in-place braces to prevent load shifts. Each car was inspected to ensure it could clear the route's tunnels, turns and bridges.

"This move required a great deal of precision," said BNSF National Account Manager Brad Wyckoff in a prepared statement, adding that BNSF spent three months working with Vestas to land and plan the move.

This month, BNSF expects to move another 120 cars for Vestas, followed by shipments of turbines and generators later this year.

Wind towers will be a growing traffic segment for the railroad because of a proposed federal tax credit for wind power-generation and Great Plains states ideal location for the towers, BNSF officials believe. Congress is proposing that by 2020, 10 percent of the nation's electricity be derived from renewable energy sources, such as wind power.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/9/2003