• BNSF inspection trainset

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

Moderator: Komachi

  by .Taurus.
My question belong to this picture: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=193923
(It shows a BNSF inspection train with seven cars)

Whats the function of each car resp what did they contain?

OK, first of all, the second last car is a full dome car (BNSF 'Bayview' maybe?), and I don't think that it has any inspection function.

But whats about these there bilevel cars (former Superliner I ??), most windows in the lower and upper deck were welded! Did they carry measuring equiment ?? And the other cars? Is the second a power supply car?

- - - -

By the way: It interesting to see, what rolling stock the different railroads use to inspect and measure their tracks.
Mostly they use old passenger cars (but mostly just one or two cars)
and mostly a big window complete the last car. (For a direct sight to the state of the track?)
NS use a SD35 slug with measuring sensors in their inspection train to simulate a realistic axle load.
CSX and UP use newly modern self-propelled railcars, that apparently contains all measuring equiment.


  by Tadman
Car #2 appears to be a power car. The smooth sided bilevels are former gallery cars that I think were customized by Rader a few years back. Maybe SP Peninsula Commute heritage? They were originally in BN's executive colors, matching that first order of SD70MAC's from 1993. The big windows tell me they are for visual inspection and possibly schmoozing customers or local officials. As does the full-dome and the open platform obs. I think "inspection" is a very broad term. It can mean mechanical, electronic, or visual. It can also apply to track inspection, wholisitic physical plant and attitude inspection (something one of the really big bosses would do) or it could just be a way for the brass to entertain stockholders, pols, and customers. Using the phrase "inspection train" is a lot more PC than using the phrase "party train" or "kissing babies and shaking hands train"...

Disclaimer - I find nothing wrong with broadly labeling functions such as inspections, it's how things work and they seem to work quite well.

  by Hawko
Wish there was a train symbol with that train. I think this train was an "Officer's Special" On the BNSF "Officers' Special" trains have the letter O as the first letter the train symbol. Tadman got it right. An Officers' Special is a train used for the CEO and other very high ranking officials to get an on the ground view of the company's territory and operations. Often these officers will have important shareholders, investors, lawmakers or reporters on board.
Once a year the Company uses its business cars for a 3-4 week "BNSF Special", which is an employee appreciation tour. This train gives employees & their families a chance to enjoy a train ride together. The company will also give several tickets to the local Boys & Girls Clubs to ride this train. This year the "BNSF Special" made several stops in the Powder River Division and ran from June 5-26.
Track inspection trains will usually have "geometry test car" painted on the side of least one of the cars. If I remember correctly, the few track inspection trains I have seen only had 3 or 4 cars.

  by .Taurus.
Next photo of this train:
A special train of BNSF brass coasts west behind a clean warbonnet as the sun starts to sag in the sky. Order of the cars behind the power was: Columbia River - Bay View - Powder River - Colorado River - Flathead River - Snoqualmie Pass - Rollins Pass.

  by .Taurus.
But this is a BNSF Track Inspection train: :-D
a westbound BNSF Track Inspection train deadheads through Bealeville. Consisting of a Geometry Support car and a Track Measurement car "Rio Grande River" [...]

  by Peace_Maker
The track testing cars have the red stripe on them like in the second picture. I have no clue what is inside them, I have only seen them go by.

The bigwigs ride the train like the first. When that train went by we all ran into a bungalow and shut the door until it passed. Once when I was working too far from a bungalow it went by, I saw vases with flowers in them through the windows and I saw the big rear facing window on the last car. It looked like at least 30 people where looking out that window. I'm not sure if Matt Rose was on that train or if it was the train hauling us regular employees around. I do know Matt Rose was in Gillette around the time that train went by. I don't know anyone who rode that train but I did have a guy on my crew that really wanted to.

The good thing is I will probably never see any of those trains again!