The BNSF Railway is one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America, second to the Union Pacific Railroad, and is one of seven North American Class I railroads. It has 44,000 employees,32,500 miles of track in 28 states and it has three transcontinental routes that provide rail links between the western and eastern United States. BNSF trains traveled over 169 million miles in 2010, more than any other North American railroad, the BNSF and UP have a duopoly on all transcontinental freight rail lines in the Western U. S. and share trackage rights over thousands of miles of track. According to corporate press releases, the BNSF Railway is among the top transporters of intermodal freight in North America, for instance, the railroad hauls enough coal to generate roughly ten percent of the electricity produced in the United States. Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, the railroad is an owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. The creation of BNSF started with the formation of a holding company, on January 24,2005, the railroads name was officially changed to BNSF Railway, using the initials of its original name. The United States Surface Transportation Board placed a 15-month moratorium on all rail mergers, the company is investing an estimated $34 billion in BNSF and acquiring $10 billion in debt. On February 12,2010, shareholders of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation voted in favor of the acquisition, BNSFs history dates back to 1849, when the Aurora Branch Railroad in Illinois and the Pacific Railroad of Missouri were formed. The Aurora Branch eventually grew into the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, a portion of the Pacific Railroad became the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway was chartered in 1859 and it built one of the first transcontinental railroads in North America, linking Chicago and Southern California, major branches led to Texas, Denver, and San Francisco. The Interstate Commerce Commission denied a proposed merger with the Southern Pacific Transportation Company in the 1980s and it absorbed the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway in 1980. Its main lines included Chicago-Seattle with branches to Texas and Montgomery, Alabama, on June 30,1994, BN and ATSF announced plans to merge, they were the largest and smallest of the Super Seven, the seven largest of the then-twelve U. S. The long-rumored announcement was delayed by a disagreement over the disposition of Santa Fe Pacific Gold Corporation and this announcement began the next wave of mergers, as the Super Seven were merged down to four in the next five years. The Illinois Central Railroad and Kansas City Southern Railway, two of the five small Class Is, announced on July 19 that the former would buy the latter, but this plan was called off on October 25. The Union Pacific Railroad, another major Western system, started a war with BN for control of the SF on October 5. The UP gave up on January 31,1995, paving the way for the BN-ATSF merger, subsequently, the UP acquired the Southern Pacific Transportation Company in 1996, and Eastern systems CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway split Conrail in 1998. UP was satisfied with a segment of trackage rights from Abilene, Kansas to Superior, Nebraska. KCS gained haulage rights to several Midwest locations, including Omaha, East St. Louis, and Memphis, in exchange for BNSF getting similar access to New Orleans
BNSF 8013 at Dallas, Texas, 20 May, 2014, awaiting re-crew.
The BNSF 'heritage' logo found on an EMD SD70MAC. The colors of the logo represented the railroads that are part of BNSF
BNSF ES44DC 7402 leads a train of Boeing 737 fuselages at Greenwood, Nebraska in October 2014.