Monday, December 26, 2016

Burlington Junction Railway and City of Rochelle Railroad

City of Rochelle Railroad
A posting by John Joseph Walsh III of a Burlington Junction 1517 crossing a road in Rochelle provided me with a new railroad name to research. (Locomotive 1517 is not listed in The Diesel Shop. This indicates the railroad is probably getting newer equipment.)

As we have seen with the Kendallville Terminal Railway, Class I railroads hate switching individual cars to a customer's building when that customer needs another car to fill or, more typically, unload. The Burlington Junction Railway (BJRY) was obviously created to handle the "last mile." BNSF would drop a cut of cars for the entire town and BJRY would then deliver the appropriate cars to the appropriate customers in that town when the customer needs a movement. They even provide "in plant" switching services.

Of their seven locations, Mt. Pleasant and Ottumwa, IA is literally the "last mile."
As of February 2010, the carrier operates seven various local industrial railroads:
  • Burlington, Iowa (Switch Carrier / Connection to BNSF)
Trackage: 3 miles (4.8 km)
  • LeMars, Iowa (Switch Carrier / Connection to CN)
  • Mt. Pleasant, Iowa (Switch Carrier / Connection to BNSF)
Trackage: 1-mile (1.6 km)
  • Ottumwa, Iowa (Switch Carrier / Connection to BNSF)
Trackage: 1-mile (1.6 km)
  • Quincy, Illinois (Switch Carrier / Connection to BNSF & and Norfolk Southern )
Trackage: 7 miles (11 km)
  • Rochelle, Illinois (Trackage owned by the City of Rochelle / Connection to BNSF & UP)
  • Montgomery, Illinois (Switch Carrier / Connection to BNSF)
  • Fenton/Valley Park, Missouri (Switch Carrier / Connection to BNSF)
[Wikepedia]

In addition to switching, in many of these locations BJRY also provides transloading services. This can be as simple as what used to be called "team tracks" --- a siding in a vacant lot. More sophisticated services would provide equipment such as a fork lift, auger, etc. A page about them winning the 2016 BNSF "Shortline of the Year" award has info on the BJRY including a video about BJRY.

The BJRY operation in Rochelle is more sophisticated than most. First of all, the track is owned by the City of Rochelle Railroad. Second of all, it interchanges with UP as well as BNSF. It has enough track capacity to handle unit trains. It does not provide intermodal service because UP has its Global 3 intermodal yard on the other side of town.

The railroad operation continues to expand. If you look at a satellite image, a lot of the route is white, which means fresh ballast. I believe this Streetview is where John took his first photo. But notice that in Sept. 2009 the track had yet to cross Steward Road. Judging from John's photo, the ethanol plant has added another steel bin since 2009. A satellite image does have the extra bin. The track crosses Steward to serve a new plant. Google has yet to update their road map with the name of this plant.

Google Satellite
Checking Bing's map has the opposite situation, the labels show the track but the satellite image is still a farm field.

Bing Satellite with labels turned on
But Bing also does not have the company name of the new plant. Nor does it have the name of the Ethanol plant. Google indicates the Ethanol plant is owned by CHS.

Update:
William Brown posted
Burlington Junction 8711,a former CN MLW S13, switches Center Rams at the Rochelle Industrial Park this morning.


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