Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota. These five states make
up the BNSF's Northern Lines extending from the Pacific Northwest to the Twin
Cities of Minneapolis/St Paul. Surveyed and built by the Northern Pacific and
Great Northern in the late 1800's they survived more than 100 years until a
merger in 1970 combined the NP, GN, CB&Q and SP&S into one road called the
Burlington Northern. The BN lasted just a short 25 years until another merger
with the Santa Fe in 1995 resulted in todays BNSF.
Always having been fascinated by the history involved in the building of the NP
and GN, "Railfanning BNSF's Northern Lines" will give the viewer an idea of what
the surveyors and builders faced as they built these two railroads across vast
plains and the many mountain barriers and river crossings. We will move
subdivision by subdivision to see the scenery and even some of what is left from
the days of the NP and GN (as well as the SP&S in Southern Washington).
Also to be explored is the BN spin off Montana Rail Link which operates ex-NP
trackage from Sandpoint, ID to Huntley, MT and forwards BNSF trains between
Sandpoint and Laurel, MT. Regional freight and locals make up the balance of
MRL's traffic base. All of this will be covered in future installments.
Bridges, tunnels, structures and even some of the signaling system that saw the
passage on NP and GN trains in years past can still be found even today. You
just have to find them and that is what this website is all about. So come
along with me as we search for remnants of the past and relive history along
BNSF's Northern Lines!