Boeing 737 Train Routing(s)??

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Boeing 737 Train Routing(s)??
Posted by RudyRockvilleMD on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 8:29 PM

What are the typical routings taken by BNSF trains carrying Boeing 737 fuselages? Are there any special precautions opposing trains must observe when they meet a train carrying Boeing 737 Fuselages? What version(s) of the 737 fuselages are currently being shipped over the BNSF?

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, February 14, 2013 8:04 AM

The fuselages are high-and-wide loads so there's a whole list of precautions and special instructions involved with these trains.  The big difference is that these are repeat operations so BNSF has had the luxury of formalizing the procedure for operating these trains rather than dealing with them on an ad hoc basis.

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Posted by jrbernier on Thursday, February 14, 2013 9:29 AM

  They move across Kansas and up to the BNSF(former GN Hi Line) via Cascade Tunnel.  The normal routing is Wichita-Newton-Lincoln-Laurel(MRL)Missoula(MRL)Sand Point-Spokane-Wenatchee-Seattle/Renton.  The load is a little wider than normal, but is not as high as double stacks.  About once/year they run video clearance checks to verify the route after infrastructure upgrades. At one time they moved in special movements, but now they move in general merchandise trains.  IIRC, if the train moving them is to be stopped overnight, it must be in a secured location or terminal.  I have seen up to 3 fuselages at the head end of a train.  Usually these are 737-800 series fuselages.


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Posted by Mookie on Thursday, February 14, 2013 1:41 PM

We are the Lincoln part of the above and I just remembered about a week ago, we saw the Boeing train coming out of the yard and going out north and then east. 

That was strange because, before, we always saw it come in and then go out south - toward KC.  And this was about a double length of what normally goes thru here. 

A head scratcher! 

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Posted by Bruce Kelly on Thursday, February 14, 2013 2:44 PM

Here in the Northwest, the phrase "Hi Line" is generally used in reference to the former GN across northern Montana, not the former GN across Washington.

Boeing loads still move west from Kansas in dedicated J symbols fairly routinely. Other times, they move west to Laurel, MT, or Hauser, ID, in a manifest, most commonly the HKCKPAS. It had long been common practice for them to be right behind the power on the HKCKPAS, but last year MRL started positioning them at least ten loads behind the power due to a new "long-car/lighter-load" restriction. Don't know if that's still in effect.

Out of Hauser, Boeing cars typically continue west as a J symbol, but they have been known to be added to a Seattle-bound intermodal. The high/wide restriction requires careful planning of meets, and prevents other trains from passing them on two main tracks in a narrow and tightly-curved area near downtown Spokane.

In addition to the fuselages, Boeing shipments include the large, brown "skybox" cars. I've seen J trains run west with nothing but a half dozen or more skyboxes. But when there are fuselages on the move, I can see their bright teal color in the distance, from my back deck, anytime a J train is about to leave Hauser.

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Posted by mudchicken on Thursday, February 14, 2013 6:10 PM

They have been known to go Wichita-Newton-La Junta-Pueblo-Denver -Alliance-Laurel  as well a s via McCook.

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Posted by SFbrkmn on Saturday, February 16, 2013 7:19 PM


They have been known to go Wichita-Newton-La Junta-Pueblo-Denver -Alliance-Laurel  as well a s via McCook.

That routing changed to running east of Newton in the early 2000's.

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Posted by Dasco on Monday, February 25, 2013 7:28 PM

On a couple occasions I have seen them outside of their usual routings.  Once, I saw a BN (early 1990s) with them in St. Paul, MN.  And more recently, I saw a lone engine with a single flat with the aforementioned brown box heading up the river toward E. Dubuque, IL.  

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Posted by samfp1943 on Monday, February 25, 2013 8:42 PM



"...They have been known to go Wichita-Newton-La Junta-Pueblo-Denver -Alliance-Laurel  as well a s via McCook..."

That routing changed to running east of Newton in the early 2000's.

 This link is a two page article with some details on these moves.

The linked article mentions :
FTA:"...The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the additions will bring the total number of special cars to 99 for BNSF. BNSF will modify the 89-foot cars to handle the greenish aluminum 737 fuselages in their run from Wichita, Kan., to Everett Wash. The railway has been shipping 737 fuselages for more than 20 years..."
"...Boeing intends to ramp up 737 production to 38 planes a month in the second quarter and to 42 a month in the same quarter next year..."
                   So there will be greater chances to see these trains moving the fuselages on BNSF.  
                  FYI... [The brown enclosed cars are used to carry the cockpits for the 747's, also made by Spirit Aero Systems (nee: Boeing) in Wichita.        The shorty enclosures mounted on the flat cars carrying the fuselages carry the tail surfaces.]  
                 The 787 cockpits are flown out of Wichita to Charleston (S.C.), Or will be when they get their issues worked out with the batteries and their containment on the aircraft.  Look up the 787 'Dreamlifter' ( a guppyized 787.)




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Posted by douglasm on Monday, February 25, 2013 8:47 PM

Used to see them as a "stand alone" train, but nowadays (at least the ones I've seen recently) they come through Rock Island mostly as the lead cars of a Seattle bound intermodal train, and will on occasion lay up in Appleyard.  Don't know if that's related to crew schedules, traffic or Boeing's schedule.

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Posted by mbv9415 on Monday, February 25, 2013 10:42 PM

The last year they seem to be running east to Argentine, then north through Murray Yard and up the St Joseph and Napier subs to Pacific Jct (south of Omaha/CB) where they turn west on the Creston sub to Lincoln, then the Ravenna sub.

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Posted by guyseattle on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 5:49 PM

This site is very informative about the 737's and BNSF:

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Posted by smpx on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 6:38 PM

What about southbound to Charleston, South Carolina?  Has Boeing started shipping that direction yet?

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Posted by guyseattle on Monday, March 4, 2013 5:58 PM

Boeing is only producing the 787 at Charleston currently and they use the Dreamlifters to move the parts for those.

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