• BNSF Western Mountain Routes

  • Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM
Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM

Moderator: Komachi

  by TheDude

I just was wondering if BNSF ever needed to get more trains out of the Seattle Tacoma area could they ever use the John Wayne Trail/Iron Horse State park right of way? Would that ever be a consideration for just BNSF or also for UP?

And also what is the story with Homestake Pass? How long has it been dormant, is there any real chance of it opening up again, and is there any website or link for more info on it?


  by gokeefe
Although it appears "The Dude" is no longer "at the ranch" as it were there are some useful basic references:

Homestake Pass Wiki

Northern Pacific Railway

In regards to Iron Horse State Park it probably goes without mentioning in these parts that the ex-Milwaukee Road route through Snoqualmie Tunnel which runs under the pass of the same name is certainly not a candidate for restoration on the same level as perhaps the ex-Northern Pacific line through Homestake Pass.

This leads to my own interest in this thread. Given the traffic counts on BNSF are there any plans to add further capacity on BNSF's 'Western Mountain Routes'? My interest in these situations partly stems from understanding the dynamics involved in freight reactivations of old redundant main lines with some examples in New England in particular.
  by mtuandrew
There was discussion a few years ago about reactivating the Milwaukee Road between Ellensburg and Lind, which would eliminate the Northern Pacific's "dip" down to Pasco. Said right-of-way is being held by the state of Washington as a rail-bank and rail-trail, but I don't believe it has been improved for trail use to any major extent. Whether BNSF is still considering that as an option to ease congestion over the GN, I don't know. I also don't know whether BNSF would need to seek approval to relay tracks from a corporate successor, or whether that successor is the Chicago-Milwaukee Corporation or CP Rail.

Otherwise, the Empire Builder thread in Amtrak notes that the Northern Transcon is getting double track in western North Dakota, and the Devils Lake Sub has been reopened as a secondary main paralleling the KO Cutoff.