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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BNSF helps haul industry's heaviest, longest load

Last week, Burlington Northern Santa Fe set a length and weight record for the largest multiple loads ever carried on U.S. and Canadian railways, breaking the previous record set in November 2000.

On Nov. 21, a special BNSF train left the Port of Duluth-Superior carrying seven 520-ton pieces of equipment on 14 12-axle rail cars and two 200-ton pieces on two eight-axle cars.

The equipment, the largest of which was 80 feet long and 14 feet wide, was destined for Syncrude Canada Ltd.'s UE-1 oil extraction project near Ft. McMurray, Alberta. The project involves removing oil-rich sand, separating the two and upgrading the oil to a usable product.

The move involved four railroads: BNSF, from Duluth-Superior to Noyes, Minn.; Canadian National Railway Co., from Noyes to Edmonton, Alberta; Rail Link America, from Edmonton to Boyle, Alberta; and Athabasca Northern Railway, from Boyle to Ft. McMurray.

"This was a very high-profile, labor-intensive move that took teamwork from all departments," said Ed Isbell, BNSF manager of sales, industrial products marketing, in a prepared statement.

The equipment, which was manufactured in Spain and Italy, was carried to the port via a Dutch ship.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/26/2002