The Friends of the Burlington Northern Railroad (FOBNR) historical society was incorporated in the state of Idaho on January 3, 1993. It was chartered to gather, preserve, and share information about the history and the current operations of the Burlington Northern Railroad (see our mission statement below). The group began with about 140 members absorbed from the Burlington Northern Historical Society, an un-incorporated interim organization interested in studying the history of the Burlington Northern Railroad. In 1996, following the merger between Burlington Northern and Santa Fe, the group voted to follow the Burlington Northern from 1970 to 1995 and the BNSF from 1995 to the present. Then in 2018 we added coverage of the Montana Rail Link.
The Group’s quarterly publication, The BN Expediter, is the voice of the organization that shares news about the group’s activities, BN historical data, and current operations of the railroad. It is a 24-page all-color publication and will grow even larger as the society grows and more members contribute more information.
The society also has an annual convention at some location on the BNSF system with programs, tours, displays, a banquet with a keynote speaker, and a business meeting.
An archive has been created to preserve information about the Burlington Northern and a preservation committee has been established to position itself to preserve and store artifacts as the society acquires them. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization under the rules and regulations of the IRS. Donations to our organization may be tax-deductible.
We are over 200 members, from all over the United States and several foreign countries. As with any organization, its true success is measured by its continued, sustained membership. And, to continue its endeavors, the Friends of the Burlington Northern Railroad need member participation and support. Membership dues run per calendar year (January through December). Please consider joining or renewing your membership in the Friends of the Burlington Northern Railroad.
We occasional receive questions about employees of the companies that formed BN. Unfortunately, we don’t keep nor have access to any information about any employees associated with the Corporation. See our Genealogy page for more information.
Mission Statement (from our bylaws)
The Friends of the Burlington Northern Railroad (FOBNR) was formed to gather, preserve, and share information about the history, current operations, and future development of the Burlington Northern Railroad and its successors. It follows the evolution of the railroad from its inception in 1970 with the merger of the Great Northern, Northern Pacific, Chicago Burlington, and Quincy, and the Spokane Portland and Seattle Railroads, along with the 1980 acquisition of the Frisco. We are a 501(c)(3) non-proﬁt corporation. The purpose of the FOBNR is educational. We wish to perpetuate the history of the Burlington Northern Railroad and its successors. We seek to collect and preserve any materials which help establish or illustrate the life, conditions, events, and activities of the railroad. We will disseminate this information through the publication of a newsletter, establishment of a web site, by maintaining an archive, and by conducting an annual convention somewhere along the lines operated by the railroad. We may also publish information in other media and may restore and operate historical railway equipment.