The BN Expediter – Back Issues 2017 – 2021

January 2017 – Volume 25 Number 1

The January 2017 issue (24 pages) contains:

  • Working on the BN, 1970-71 – an Oral History
    An interview with Paul Brittain who worked for the BN in its earliest days around Eola, Illinois. He shares his experiences of being hired, working as a switchman in the yard and on various way freights to Savannah and Streator, Illinois.
  • Before, Then and Now: Grand Island Crossing
    A photo record of BN’s crossing of the Union Pacific in Grand Island, Nebraska. Photos from before the new flyover, the year it was constructed, and now.
  • Reno Jct, May 1995, by Mark Demaline
    A photo record of coal train action near Reno Jct, Wyoming, with Cascade green, Grinstein and Oakway power. The main was still 2 tracks, but was in the process of being expanded to 3.
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April 2017 – Volume 25 Number 2

The April 2017 issue (24 pages) contains:

  • Colorado Division Days: 1979-81
    David Burns, Division Superintendent of the Denver Division in 1979-81 recalls his experience. Includes a map of the rail lines in the division at the time and photos of Denver roundhouse area, Denver Union Station passenger tracks, the Hastings, Nebraska station, and various trains around the division.
  • Todays Railroad Scene: Denver and the Front Range of Colorado, by John Parker
    A short article about BNSF in the area. Includes an annotated map of the BNSF trackage and facilities in the Denver area and various photos of BNSF trains around the Front Range.
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July 2017 Volume 25 Number 3

The July 2017 issue (24 pages) contains:

  • Crew Haulers, by Jay Glenewinkel
    A personal story about working as a crew hauler for BNSF (and UP) in Texas.
  • Over the Top
    Photos of roof detail on a BN SD40-2.
  • Locomotive Chronicles 1989, by Dave Poplawski
    A short article about BN’s locomotive-related activities in 1989, including the first purchase of SD60Ms, BN’s extensive GP39M/E/V rebuild program, and units leaving the roster. Many pictures of relavant units are included.
  • BN’s SD60, SD60M and SD60MACs, by Jay Glenewinkel
    A long article, with photos, diagrams, data, and some example pages from an SD60M operators manual.
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October 2017 – Volume 25 Number 4

The October 2017 issue (24 pages) contains:

  • 2017 Convention Report, by John Adams
    A report on our 2017 convention in the Denver, Colorado area, with a few photos.
  • Cherokee Yard Expansion – Part 2, by Thomas Jenner
    An update on the on-going expansion of the Cherokee Yard in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a yard schematic and a few photos.
  • Transportation Department Days 1981-1982
    The next installment of Dave Burns’ articles about his experience in management on the BN, this time in the Transportation Department at BN’s headquarters in St. Paul.
  • Right of Way: ex-MILW, Terry, Montana to Mobridge, South Dakota, by Dave Poplawski
    A photo tour of the ex-Milwaukee Road trackage from Terry to Mobridge.
  • Tank Train, by Peter Ferch
    A photo sampler of 11 flatcars and loads from a military train passing through Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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January 2018 – Volume 26 Number 1

The January 2018 issue (24 pages) contains:

  • President’s Message (and FOBNR history)
    John Adams recalls the formation and 25 years of history of the FOBNR.
  • The BN Historian
    A 4-page reprint of what started it all, Volume 1 Number 1, put together by Dave Casdorph in 1991.
  • FOBNR Expands Covereage to Include the MRL
    A short article, with a few photos along Montana Rail Link trackage, explaining that the FOBNR is expanding its coverage to include the MRL.
  • Gary Olszewski Oral History Interview (part 1)
    Gary, a BN and BNSF employee from 1977 through 2015, tells his story of working as a hostler, fireman and engineer in the first of 2 parts. Includes a few historical photos.
  • Over the Top
    A short article with photos of the roof detail of a BN NW2 and SDP40.

April 2018 – Volume 26 Number 2

The April 2018 issue (24 pages) contains:

  • The BN Historian
    A 4-page reprint the second issue, Volume 1 Number 2, put together by Dave Casdorph in 1991.
  • Right of Way: The West Chicago Industrial Track (Then and Now), by Dave Poplawski
    A 4-page description of BNSF’s earliest right-of-way, now an industrial track, with photos of how it looks today versus how it looked in the early 1980’s.
  • Working the “Mails” to West Chicago, by Leo Phillipp
    A personal story of working the local switch jobs on the West Chicago line in the mid to late 1970’s.
  • Gary Olszewski Oral History Interview (part 2)
    Gary, a BN and BNSF employee from 1977 through 2015, tells his story of working as a hostler, fireman and engineer in the second of 2 parts. Includes a few historical photos.
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July 2018 – Volume 26 Number 3

The July 2018 issue (24 pages) contains:

  • The BN Historian
    An 8-page reprint the third issue, Volume 1 Number 3, put together by Dave Casdorph in 1991.
  • BN’s GP50’s, by Jay Glenewinkel
    A long article about BN’s process of acquiring, maintaining and eventually disposing of it fleet of GP50’s. Includes many photos, data, and a complete roster, including dispositions and units still on the BNSF roster.
  • BNSF Coal Trains on the MRL, by Mark Demaline
    A short photo-montage of a few BNSF coal trains at various locations on the Montana Rail Link, including Logan, Plains, Austin, between Toston and Trident, and on Bozeman Pass.
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The October 2018 issue (24 pages) contains:

October 2018 – Volume 26 Number 4
  • The BN Historian
    A 4-page reprint the fourth and last issue, Volume 1 Number 4, put together by Dave Casdorph in 1992.
  • Intermodal Days 1982-1992
    The next installment of Dave Burns’ articles about his experience in management on the BN, this time in the launching of BN’s Intermodal Business Unit (IBU) and the early days of intermodal shipping on the BN, including BN America and BN’s Expediter service.
  • BN’s City View Trailers
    Photos of all ten different city graphic designs that graced the sides of these unique trailers.
  • Over the Top
    Overhead views of BN’s C30-7 5500 and F45 6635 showing lots of roof details.
  • BN Speeder
    Four photos of Gary Olszewski’s restored ex-BN A4-D gang car #1209.
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The January 2019 issue (24 pages) contains:

January 2019 – Volume 27 Number 1
  • FOBNR Contact Corner, by Gary Seymour
    Answering the question: What is the current status of BN F45 #6644?
  • Over the Top
    Overhead views of BN’s GP-7 1412 and B30-7A 4037 showing lots of roof details.
  • Right of Way: BNSF’s Red Oak – Shenandoah (Iowa) Line, by Dave Poplawski
    An article about an interesting branch line with lots of photos.
  • BN, AT&SF and BNSF C30-7s (part 1), by Jay Glenewinkel
    The history of one of BN’s most popular diesel locomotives, with roster information and photos. Part 1 covers BN’s and AT&SF’s unit, part 2 will cover the units in the BNSF era.
 

The April 2019 issue (24 pages) contains:

April 2019 – Volume 27 Number 2
  • Over the Top
    Overhead views of SD70ACe’s, showing lots of roof details.
  • Working on the CB&Q, BN and BNSF, Wesley Haas: Oral History (part 1)
    Wes hired on with the CB&Q in 1962 and had a long career, mostly in diesel maintenance, with the Q, BN and BNSF. He chronicles his experiences in and around the Denver area in part 1, and will cover his move to Lincoln in part 2. Includes a few historical photos.
  • BN, AT&SF and BNSF C30-7s (Part 2), by Jay Glenewinkel
    The history of one of BN’s most popular diesel locomotives, with roster information, dispositions and photos. Part 2 covers the units in the BNSF era.
 

The July 2019 issue (24 pages) contains:

  • Contact Corner – The Pacific Zip, by Gary Seymour
    A long answer about the history of the train called The Pacific Zip, including a full page photo of one on the back cover.
  • BN and MRL Operations over Bozeman and Mullan Passes, Part 1 ~ The BN Era, by Larry Zuetschel and Mark Demaline
    A photo essay of trains and their helper power, with 23 photos taken between 1970 and 1983.
  • Right of Way Follow-Up, by Dave Poplawski
    More information about and photos of the Shenandoah Line through Red Oak, Iowa.
  • Working on the CB&Q, BN and BNSF, Wesley Haas: Oral History (part 2)
    A continuation of Wes’s interview focusing on his time managing diesel service in the freight pit in Hobson Yard in Lincoln. Includes several photos from that location and era.
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The October 2019 issue (28 pages) contains:

  • 2019 Convention Report, by John Adams
    A report on the activities of the group at the convention, including tours of BNSF facilities, railfanning and model railroad operating sessions and tours.
  • Then & Now: 1991/2019, South of Crete, Nebraska, by Tom Jergens
    Photos of almost the exact same place with the old and new local freight.
  • Quality Department Days 1992-1995
    Another installment from Dave Burns about his experiences working in BN’s Quality Department, charged with improve the quality and consistency of BN’s transportation services. Includes several documentsfrom the era, including a letter from Gerald Grinstein.
  • BN and MRL Operations over Bozeman and Mullan Passes, Part 2 ~ The MRL Era, by Larry Zeutschel and Mark Demaline
    A photo essay of trains and their helper power, with 29 photos taken between 1988 and 2013.
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The January 2020 issue (24 pages) contains:

  • Right of Way: BNSF’s Peoria Subdivision, by John Adams
    An article about a line slowly losing traffic, with photos of interesting locations along the way.
  • Grinstein Green Speeder
    A photo essay about Chuck White’s restored speeder.
  • FOBNR Image Library
    Announcing the debut of our photo archives, with a few photos as examples of what can be found.
  • From the Archives
    Examples of some engineering drawings that are currently available in our archives. Includes signage, switch and bridge specifications.
  • Over the Top
    Overhead views of BN locomotives SD60M 9226 and 9255, GP9 1861 and GP9B 602, showing lots of roof details.
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The April 2020 issue (32 pages) contains:

  • Contact Corner: Locotrol RCU Mated with BN 5624, by Gary Seymour
    A long answer to a simple question about which Locotrol RCU was initially mated to this particular locomotive, with more information about Locotrol, a listing of all Locotrol RCUs, and a couple of photos.
  • Happy 50th Anniversary BN!
    This issue is devoted to the 50th anniversary of the formation of the BN, and includes a few items from the March 2, 1970 issue of the Burlington Northern News.
  • BN Operational Chronology, Chapter 2: The First Year
    A reprint of one chapter of John Strauss’s excellent treatise on the operation of the BN, including several photos from the early ’70s.
  • Burlington Northern, A Great Adventure: 1970-1979, Chapter 16: Disparate Cultures
    A reprint of one chapter of Earl Currie’s new two-volume series on the history of the BN, in which the melding of the cultures of the predecessor roads is discussed.
  • 1970 on the Hannibal Division, by Kent Hannah
    Personal recollections of operations in 1970 on the Hannibal Subdivision, with lots of details about trains on the Peoria (Illinois) line and elsewhere on the subdivision, including a few pictures of action in the early days.
  • The First BN Freight Train (#97)
    A photo of the first “official” freight train on the BN, with 5 brand new GP38’s leading train #97 west over the Gassman Coulee bridge just west of Minot, North Dakota. Includes Earl Currie’s recollections of the first train as it left Chicago.
  • Potpourri of Photos From the Early Days
    Nine cool photos of trains from the early 1970s from around the country, with many “rainbow” power lashups.

The July 2020 issue (28 pages) contains:

  • An FOBNR Freight Car!
    We’ve created an HO-scale covered hopper for the FOBNR, with reporting marks FBNX 1995, and started it on a trek across the country visiting various layouts. It started on John Parkers Fall River Division layout, and we’ll follow its travels in future editions of The BN Expediter as well as on our website. We also are offering decals in HO and N for those wishing to customize a car of their own. Photos included.
  • BN’s Springfield Division’s 8th Subdivision: Wichita to Fredonia, by Mel Finzer
    A photo tour of the ex-Frisco line as Mel chased the BN train 91666 3 separate times back in 1989 and 1990. Includes a little history of the line and aerial photos from a real airplane.
  • 23 Years on the BN/BNSF – Jake Greeling: Oral History Part 1 – Alliance Division
    Jake hired on to the BN in 1974 after a short stint on a steel mill’s plant railroad and spent the next 9 years in the Powder River Basin as a brakeman, engineer, trainmaster, road foreman of engines and assistant division superintendent. Part 2 will cover the promotions and transfers that rounded out Jake’s career. Includes a few historical photos, including driving the green and white spike that marked the joining of the rails as construction from the north and south converged.
  • BN’s SD45s and SDP45s, Part 1, by Jay Glenewinkel
    The history of one of BN’s early workhorse diesel locomotives, with roster information and photos. Part 1 covers the inheritance of units from GN, NP, CB&Q, C&S and Frisco, plus BN’s own purchases. Part 2 will have all the roster information, along with dispositions.

The October 2020 issue (32 pages) contains:

  • The FOBNR Freight Car(s)
    Photos of our new N scale FBNX cars, along with photos and description of a visit paid by the HO scale car to Mark Steenwyk’s Milwaukee Beer Line layout.
  • MRL’s 45-Series Locomotives, by Jay Glenewinkwel
    A description of all the SD45s and F45s, and their various model designations (e.g., SD45-2) ever owned by the MRL. Includes an all time roster w/ lineages and photos of selected models of various designations.
  • Right of Way: BNSF’s Des Moines Subdivision, by Benjamin Hucker
    An east-to-west traversal of the subdivision from Albia to Des Moines, Iowa, with descriptions and photos of the interesting locations along the line.
  • BN’s SD45s and SDP45s, Part 2, by Jay Glenewinkel
    The dispositions of BN’s early workhorse diesel locomotives, with a complete roster including lineage and disposition plus photos of selected units after they left BN, including two units still preserved in museums in Minnesota.
  • 23 Years on the BN/BNSF – Jake Greeling: Oral History (Part 2 – Moving Up)
    After leaving the Powder River area, promotions to division superintendent and director positions rounded out Jake’s career.
  • Right of Way: BNSF’s Peoria Subdivision Followup
    A little more information and a few more historical photos about the subdivision from FOBNR members Earl Currie and Kent Hannah.

The January 2021 issue (28 pages) contains:

  • FOBNR Contact Corner: Intermountain Model Boxcar w/ Orange Doors
    An inquiry into the reason for the doors being orange instead of green like the rest of the car.
  • The FOBNR Freight Car(s)
    Two N scale FBNX cars visit Paul Brennecke’s Grand Road layout. Photos and description of their visit to several locations along the line.
  • BN + AT&SF = BNSF, 25 Years and Counting, by Dave Poplawski
    A chronological account of the lead up to the merger, including the bidding war between BN and the Union Pacific. Highlights of operational and changes to the physical plant in the first year, including concessions received from UP for BN’s support for the UP/SP merger.
  • The First BNSF Locomotives
    A short article, with both roster and action photos, describing the celebration paint scheme, the experimental paint scheme, BNSF lettering on Warbonnet and Grinstein units, and the first units decorated with the new BNSF orange paint scheme.
  • Where BN & Santa Fe Met: 1995 and 2020
    A list of locations where BN and Santa Fe trackages crossed and met in 1995, with a short description of operations at those sites in 1995, and how things have changed at those locations as of 2020.
  • Hot Boxes and Close Calls, by Leo Phillipp
    A personal recollection of Leo’s experiences as a brakeman and conductor in the 1970s on BN around Chicago and along the C&I Subdivision west of Aurora.
  • Fred Smith’s 1/8 Scale BN Trains
    Photos of Fred’s collection of locomotives, caboose and freight cars.

Will be available for sale in November 2021.

The April 2021 issue (32 pages) contains:

  • The FOBNR Freight Cars
    Two N scale FBNX cars visit George Rabbitt’s PG&D layout, and the HO scale FBNX car visits Burr Stewart’s BN Seattle Region layout. Photos and descriptions of their visit to several locations along the lines.
  • Wow, What a Ride! Pat Keim: Oral History (Part 1 – Operations)
    Pat started on the CB&Q while in high school, then worked his way up into senior management in operations as the Montana Division Superintendent in Havre, Montana. Part 2 will follow his transition into government relations and life after BNSF.
  • The Return of the Kalispell Subdivision
    A short article about BNSF taking back service on the Kalispell Subdivision after 15 years of operation by Mission Mountain Railroad, with a couple of photos.
  • Right of Way: BNSF’s Laurel Subdivision, Mossmain to Great Falls, by Mark Demaline and Dave Poplawski
    An east (RR south) to west (RR north) trip along the subdivision, with descriptions and photos of the interesting locations along the line, including historical photos of train order depots and abandoned prairie skyscrapers (grain elevators).
  • Rail Service to Moore, Montana: A Short History of a Short Subdivision, by Mark Demaline and Dave Poplawski
    A short article of how rail service to the grain elevator at Moore transitioned from the CMStP&P to the BN via Lewistown to the BN via a new connection from the Laurel Subdivision via Sipple, including a brief mention of the Central Montana Railroad.
  • Montana Rail Link’s GP9 Fleet, by Jay Glenewinkel
    A description of MRL’s GP9s, including an all-time roster and photos of all units still in service in January 2021.
  • Before and After: 1975 / 1981
    BN U25C #5611 in 1975 on a coal train, and then in 1981 on a funeral train in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Will be available for sale in November 2021.