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BNSF assists 'Operation Iron Horse' with military-equipment moves

The "Iron Highway" played a role in "Operation Iron Horse," the code name for the U.S. military's mobilization of troops and equipment to the Middle East.

Between late January and mid-March, Burlington Northern Santa Fe moved tanks, jeeps, rocket launchers, bridge-building equipment and portable hospitals from western U.S. bases in Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Washington and Missouri, to ports in Corpus Christi and Beaumont, Texas. Specially trained military personnel loaded equipment onto unit trains, which were under constant security surveillance.

BNSF gave military trains top priority, committing crews and locomotives "whenever and wherever necessary," according to a prepared statement.

Although railroads typically plan traffic three to five days in advance, port calls and military plans were made one to two days ahead of time.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/14/2003