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Oil Trains on the BNSF.

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Oil Trains on the BNSF.
Posted by Photog566 on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 10:51 AM

Hi all. 

I live along the BNSF Chicago to Aurora main line.   Oil trains have become a common site around here, and I was wondering when they started moving so many on the BNSF.  Most of them come through with NS power and, on occasion, an NS Heritage Unit is part of the lash-up.  I have lived along here for six  years now, and I don't remember seeing so many tank-car only trains. Also, it appears (to me, anyway) that the oil trains are becoming more numerous, possibly as many as 5 each direction on a daily basis.  I was told they are transporting oil from the North Dakota oil fields to refineries on the East Coast.  

I have been seeing these trains since probably January, but I am wondering if they have been running on BNSF rails for longer than I am suspecting.  As a side note, my favorite oil train, if you will, runs all white tank cars...and they look fairly new, the cars are all a bright white without a single graffiti mark, or stain on them..  It's a striking sight watching the train come by, and it would make a great photograph..... I just need to figure out when it is due next and get up to the nearby grade crossing and get a photo. 

Any info would be appreciated.

The member formerly known as "TimChgo9"

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 11:14 AM

No, these trains are fairly new. So is the oil terminal west of Dickinson, ND

As a matter of fact, I just drove around this facility yesterday. There were at least 20 transport trucks waiting on 115th Avenue for their turn to unload. There are four tracks on that east loop, and I have seen NS power there.

The west loops are finished now, they receive covered hoppers filled with fracking sand.

Obama put the kabosh on a north south pipeline, so we will just send the oil east and west on the tracks that we do have. [Take That, Darth Vader!]

They are also going to build a diesel refinery west of Dickinson. Private oil recovered on private land and transported by private railroads. And there is MUCH MORE where this came form.

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

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Posted by richg1998 on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 1:03 PM

It has been the news for sometime. Lots of oil in the Nebraska area. No idea if any oil is from the tar sands in Canada.

While the pipe line to the refineries in Texas is being built, Buffett is using a lot of tank cars. The pipe line might not even affect him. Don't forget, lots of natural gas has been found also. This getting the Arabs nervous.

Search the 'Net for oil nebraska and buffett oil.

Rich

Some heard Trains when brains were handed out and have been on the wrong track ever since.

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Posted by Photog566 on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 2:34 PM

I was figuring the trains were pretty new...prior to this past winter, the only unit tank car train we would see was the CSX ethanol train, as well as a "corn syrup" train from time to time.  There is an oil train rattling by the house as I type this.  (the BNSF is literally 100 feet from my front door)  not sure what power is pulling it, but if it were Hertiage, my son would have let me know..... 

Thanks for the info.

The member formerly known as "TimChgo9"

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Posted by jrbernier on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 3:24 PM

  The unit oil trains have been running for over a year now.  About 500,000 barrels were moved in 2012.  BNSF forecasts about 700,000 barrels will be moved in 2013.  Most of this oil is being moved out of the Bakken Formation in the Williston Basin area.  CP is also moving oil out of this area.

  This is not 'tar sands' oil from Canada.  That crude has too much sulphur content for US use.  The oil for the most part is moving to east coast refineries where it is cost competitive with 'Brent' crude from the North Sea.  The cost of moving it south by rail is not competitive with 'Cushing/WTI' prices.  If and when pipeline capacity and refining capacity to the south ever catch up, any crude for Cushing will go via pipeline.  Right now there is a good competitive market on the east coast and rail transport can play into that game.

Jim

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 5:06 PM

One can determine if it is an oil or ethanol train by looking at the diamond placard on the side of the tank car.

Don't hold me to this, but the oil is UN1287 while ethanol is UN19XX....forget the last two digits.

BNSF is handling off an almost daily to CSX, usually running thru NW Indiana around 8am....symboled K010 with K011 being the mt return.  Also been told there is a K040 running

Ed

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 7:19 PM

jrbernier

...

  This is not 'tar sands' oil from Canada.  That crude has too much sulphur content for US use.  The oil for the most part is moving to east coast refineries where it is cost competitive with 'Brent' crude from the North Sea... 

There are a number of US refineries that can handle high sulfur crude, although less so on the east coast. There is at least one on the east coast that will take tar sands oil, as reported in the NewsWire yesterday:

http://trn.trains.com/Railroad%20News/News%20Wire/2013/06/Delaware%20legislators%20approve%20resolution%20for%20NS%20to%20reduce%20train%20delays%20and%20noise.aspx

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Posted by Soo 6604 on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 8:27 PM

A friend told me that the BNSF is planning on running up to 25 loaded trains (25 empty) a day through La Crosse, Wis. There are plans to finish double tracking the river line including Grand Crossing. Also, from what I heard, is that the BNSF is rerouting the high priority trains off the route and put them on the Iowa-Nebraska line. Montana Rail Link was/is looking for 35 engineers at one time to prepare for the trains coming off the northern line.

This is just what I heard 3rd hand with no absolute proof. The original source works for the BNSF

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Posted by jclass on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 9:41 PM

If BNSF double tracks at La Crosse, golfers at Forest Hills may have to tee off and pitch over two trains at once. Smile

http://www.bing.com/local/details.aspx?lid=YN954x157353732&qt=yp&what=golf+courses&where=La+Crosse%2c+Wisconsin&s_cid=ansPhBkYp02&mkt=en-us&q=la+crosse+wi+golf+courses&FORM=LARE

http://www.foresthillsgolf.org/index.aspx?nid=64

http://www.foresthillsgolf.org/index.aspx?nid=81

Watch the slide show.  How many golf course websites feature locomotives?

http://www.foresthillsgolf.org/

Rules & Etiquette - no iron shots from the roadbed!

http://www.foresthillsgolf.org/index.aspx?nid=83

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Posted by jrbernier on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 10:17 PM

MidlandMike
There are a number of US refineries that can handle high sulfur crude, although less so on the east coast. There is at least one on the east coast that will take tar sands oil, as reported in the NewsWire yesterday:

  'Tar Sands' oil is rather costly to process, and the ability to get it inexpensive is paramount to balancing the high cost of processing the crude.  'Brent' crude has been the east coast's major supplier, with tar sands being used for heavier fuels.  With the advent of 'Bakken' oil(a light sweet crude), the 'Brent' crude has been given a run for it's place in the east coast refining of lighter motor fuels.  A big market for tar sands crude is export to the Pacific Rim....

Jim

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by denveroutlaws06 on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 11:03 PM

the ethanol UN code is 1987 and crude oil 1267.

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 5:48 AM

jrbernier
[snipped - PDN] . . . About 500,000 barrels were moved in 2012.  BNSF forecasts about 700,000 barrels will be moved in 2013.  Most of this oil is being moved out of the Bakken Formation in the Williston Basin area.  CP is also moving oil out of this area. . . .

Jim, you may want to check and verify those numbers and/ or units.  A single 100-car train will carry 100 x about 600 to 700 = 60 to 70,000 barrels, so for 2012 it would be only 7 or 8 trains altogether.  Perhaps that should be carloads instead ?

- Paul North.     

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by oltmannd on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 6:02 AM

Paul_D_North_Jr
About 500,000 barrels were moved in 2012.  BNSF forecasts about 700,000 barrels will be moved in 2013.

That's per day....

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by jrbernier on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 8:54 AM

Don,

  You are right - about 500,000 barrels/day.  That is 7+ trains/day being generated for 2012.  This based on 28,571 gallons loaded in a tank car, and 100 car unit trains.  Last year, I seem to remember seeing lots of 25,000 gallon tank cars, so the number of trains needed will increase.  Light sweet crude is about 7 lbs/gallon, and works out to 28,571 gallons in a 200,000 lb capacity freight car.  BNSF is forecasting 1,2000,000 gallons by the end of either 2014 or 2015.

Jim

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by Photog566 on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 9:15 AM

7 trains a day seems about right, it seems whenever I look up, there is another oil train going by. They have also been a good source for NS Heritage units.  so far I have seen the Monon, Illinois Terminal,  Penn Central, Central of New Jersey, and New York Central.  Anyway, thanks for all the info, I appreciate it.  

The member formerly known as "TimChgo9"

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Posted by Bruce Kelly on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 9:15 AM

In the Pacific Northwest, refineries that used to receive loose blocks of oil have expanded capacity to receive unit trains, and more expansion is underway. The first unit oil train westward on BNSF to the Northwest was in July 2012, from Epping, ND, to the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, WA. But the new unit train facility at Anacortes was not scheduled to open until about September 2012, so that oil train was taken east up the Snake River on UP, interchanged to Great Northwest Railroad at Ayer, and stored until ready.

There are now oil trains coming west on BNSF's northern transcon that can go to an export dock at Clatskanie, OR, refineries at Anacortes and Tacoma, WA, and even south on the Oregon Trunk to refineries in California. There are at least five additional export terminals and three additional refineries in western Washington that are either expanding now or are in the planning stages.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 2:46 PM

jrbernier

  'Tar Sands' oil is rather costly to process, and the ability to get it inexpensive is paramount to balancing the high cost of processing the crude.  'Brent' crude has been the east coast's major supplier, with tar sands being used for heavier fuels.  With the advent of 'Bakken' oil(a light sweet crude), the 'Brent' crude has been given a run for it's place in the east coast refining of lighter motor fuels.  A big market for tar sands crude is export to the Pacific Rim....

Jim

Tar sands crude certainly has its problems, but it has not stopped midwestern pipelines and refineries from expanding capacity to handle some of it.  While light crudes are preferable when they are available,  tar sands won't be ruled out as a back-up plan.

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Posted by dakotafred on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 5:20 PM

MidlandMike

jrbernier

  'Tar Sands' oil is rather costly to process, and the ability to get it inexpensive is paramount to balancing the high cost of processing the crude.  'Brent' crude has been the east coast's major supplier, with tar sands being used for heavier fuels.  With the advent of 'Bakken' oil(a light sweet crude), the 'Brent' crude has been given a run for it's place in the east coast refining of lighter motor fuels.  A big market for tar sands crude is export to the Pacific Rim....

Jim

Tar sands crude certainly has its problems, but it has not stopped midwestern pipelines and refineries from expanding capacity to handle some of it.  While light crudes are preferable when they are available,  tar sands won't be ruled out as a back-up plan.

Tar sands crude, after all, is what the XL pipeline is all about.

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Posted by NorthWest on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 8:51 PM

Bruce Kelly
There are at least five additional export terminals and three additional refineries in western Washington that are either expanding now or are in the planning stages.

BP's Cherry Point Refinery just north of Bellingham, WA, is one. When Anacortes started accepting trains, the rail was upgraded from stick rail to pretty heavy welded rail. This line is now busier today than it has probably been in its entire history!

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