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BNSF Railway
BNSF 7520 GE ES44DC in Mojave Desert

Reporting Mark

BNSF

Dates of operation

1996–present

Track gauge

4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)

Length

32,166 miles (51,766 km) at end of 2008
Decrease 0.01% from 2007

Headquarters

Fort Worth, Texas

Website

www.bnsf.com

The BNSF Railway is the second-largest freight railroad network in North America, second to the Union Pacific Railroad (its primary competitor for Western U.S. freight), and is one of seven North American Class I railroads. It has three transcontinental routes that provide high-speed links between the western and eastern United States.

According to corporate press releases, the BNSF Railway is among the top transporters of intermodal freight in North America. It also hauls bulk cargo. 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 a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The creation of BNSF started with the formation of a holding company, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation on 22 September 1995. This new holding company then purchased the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (often called the "Santa Fe") and Burlington Northern Railroad, and formally merged the railways into the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway on 31 December 1996. On 24 January 2005, the railroad's name was officially changed to "BNSF Railway," using the initials of its original name.

In 1999, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and the Canadian National Railway announced their intention to merge and form a new corporation entitled North American Railways to be headquartered in Montreal, Canada. The United States' Surface Transportation Board (STB) placed a 15-month moratorium on all rail mergers, which ended this merger.

On November 3, 2009, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced it would acquire the remaining 77.4 percent of BNSF it did not already own for $100 per share in cash and stock - a deal valued at $44 billion. 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.

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