35 million messages are generated daily by our network of 4,000+ trackside detectors to help us identify defects before they create an issue.
Though BNSF does not own the tank cars we use to ship ethanol and crude oil, we work with our customers to ensure we have the safest tank cars in which to move these commodities.
BNSF trained 6,800+ first responders in 2018.
Every year BNSF celebrates several employees who embody our commitment to safety by recognizing them as Safety Employees of the Year. Key considerations for the honor include demonstrating leadership in our safety programs, promoting safety through innovative ideas and proactively identifying risks and reinforcing safe behaviors with positive feedback. Safety Employees of the Year for 2018 include Humberto Briones Jr. (Intermodal), Dan Drobny (Engineering-Track & Structures), Phillip Jody (Engineering-Signal & Network Control Systems), Alejandra Sanchez (Engineering-Telecommunications), Tohmer Soltes (Mechanical) and Jessica Stone (Transportation).
Intermodal Safety Employee of the Year
Engineering-Signal & NCS Safety Employee of the Year
The U.S. rail industry has made significant gains in safety over the years, and BNSF is a leader in this area.
BNSF continues to play a major role in training emergency hazmat responders in the communities in which we operate. In 2018, we helped train more than 6,800 first responders. This training is provided by BNSF and railroad industry partners through the Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TRANSCAER) program.
BNSF has achieved one of the industry’s lowest highway-railroad grade-crossing collision rates. In collaboration with communities and landowners, we have been able to close more than 6,400 grade crossings since 2000. We also regularly participate in programs such as International Level Crossing Awareness Day in communities across our network. For the past several years, BNSF has spent an average of approximately $140 million annually on programs related to grade-crossing safety, including approximately $80 million on grade-crossing maintenance.
At BNSF, we are leading the North American freight rail industry in the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC). In fact, we completed installation of all federally mandated PTC infrastructure on our network in 2017, well in advance of the December 31, 2018, deadline. We are also installing PTC in locations beyond the mandate. Nevertheless, in 2018 we requested an extension, because to be considered fully implemented requires that all other railroads operating across any of our PTC-equipped lines must also be capable of operating with our PTC system.
Moving forward, our focus will continue to be on PTC interoperability. We have achieved interoperability, and PTC is active for several passenger railroads, including Amtrak, where they run on BNSF. This is an important achievement because one of the primary purposes of PTC is to provide protection where railroads run freight and passenger service. We have also accomplished interoperability with several shortline railroads.
We look forward to expanding interoperability and continue to work with the Federal Railroad Administration to ensure PTC enhances rail safety wherever it operates.
BNSF regularly conducts rigorous track, weather event, bridge and rail inspections across our network that meet all federal requirements. Efforts include routine visual inspections by specially trained track and bridge inspectors. We supplement their inspections by leveraging sophisticated instrumented railcars and trucks, bridge inspection vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles. These various tools are equipped with a variety of high-tech capabilities including track measurement systems that use ultrasound for internal rail inspections and ground-penetrating radar, high-definition cameras and accelerometers used to analyze the roadbed, track and bridges.