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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BNSF powers up seasonal electric-vehicle business

Burlington Northern Santa Fe is building a niche seasonal business with Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), a DaimlerChrysler subsidiary that manufactures four-person electric vehicles resembling golf carts.

In October 2002, BNSF began moving vehicles previously shipped by truck from a Fargo, N.D., plant.

To date, the railroad has moved about 500 GEMS in bi-level rail cars designed to carry up to 20 vehicles. BNSF loads cars at its Dilworth, Minn., yard, then moves vehicles via other railroads to end-users in New York City, southern Arizona and California.

Most GEM customers are municipal government employees and retirement community residents.

"There is a great potential for additional GEM business," said Steve Painter,
BNSF project manager, marketing support, automotive business unit, in a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/27/2003