Best in snow: Check out these 10 amazing winter shots of BNSF trains in action | Rail Talk

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Jan 28, 2021

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4 min.

Best in snow: Check out these 10 amazing winter shots of BNSF trains in action

In the midst of the many challenges people have faced in the past several months, it’s good to see that some things never change. BNSF trains keep moving freight, and railfans keep capturing magnificent images of them, even in cold winter weather. We’ve scoured the entries from this year’s Winter Photo Contest to find the 10 most un-brrr-lievable scenes!

The annual contest is hosted on BNSF Railway’s official Instagram and Twitter channels as well as our Friends of BNSF Facebook group.

Photographers should always remember that train photos must be taken safely, on public property. Keep a safe distance from railroad tracks, which are on private property. Trespassing on the tracks or right-of-way is illegal and dangerous.

Here are this year’s “best in snow” photos. Congratulations to our winners and honorable mentions and thank you to everyone who submitted an entry.

First Place 

Tom Danneman

"Northwest Montana’s Cabinet Mountain Range and a BNSF empty coal train reflect in the calm, cold waters of Trout Creek just west of Trout Creek, Mont., on January 27, 2020."


Second Place

Don Pogue

"BNSF’s Los Angeles, Calif. to Willow Springs, Ill. priority intermodal train combats the grade on California’s famed Cajon Pass as a winter storm clears out on December 29, 2020."


Third Place

Ken Edmier

"The snow has finally stopped falling as an eastbound intermodal train approaches West Glacier, Mont. The train will soon start its upward climb towards Marias Pass on January 17, 2020."


Honorable Mentions

Timothy Tonge

"Rear distributed power unit BNSF 9205 shoves a coal load south at Larkspur, Colo., on Colorado's Joint Line, after over six inches of snow fell the night before. The train is crossing the old Santa Fe bridge on October 24, 2019."


Andrew Fayerweather

"My friends and I wanted to make a trip out west to Montana. We had planned to make the trip in October to see the western larch and aspen turn yellow. Instead we were greeted with cold temperatures and nearly a foot of snow falling the same day we arrived! We made our way to Helena to photograph the gorgeous territory of Mullan Pass. This former Northern Pacific trackage is now operated by Montana Rail Link. My friends and I headed up the pass to try and get some trains rolling through the snow. Already there was one to two feet of snow on the ground. With frequent and heavy flurries the scene only got more magical. We saw several trains grind their way up the grade, heading west in heavy snow. The snowfall began to slow just as we heard a train coming east begin its descent over the continental divide, which you can see in the background. I ran up the hill through the deep snow and made it here just as the lead locomotive began to traverse the trestle. Huffing and puffing, I quickly lifted my camera up and snapped this picture of BNSF 6778 leading an autorack train eastbound down the pass, crossing Skyline Trestle on October 18, 2020. The bright orange locomotive pops amid the heavy grey clouds and the snow-covered hills. Nothing screams winter railroading quite like mountains, snow, Montana, and BNSF Railway."


Erik Lindgren

"Spring mountain snow is falling with urgency along the Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, covering the fabled and spectacular Moffat Road with several new inches of snow on April 16, 2020. The eastbound Provo to Denver manifest made its daily appearance, seen here in the valley of Coal Creek Canyon. The subtle blues and soft cool light of the April snowstorm politely clash with the warm glow of the headlights of the train. BNSF GE ES44AC number 5777 is leading the train with the evidence of miles and miles of winter snow on its nose, a story of winter railroading in the high country. Only a few more miles and this Provo, Utah to Denver train will have reached its destination, tonnage delivered."


Ryan Adams

"BNSF 7408 climbs the Arizona Divide west of Flagstaff, Ariz. on December 28, 2019."


Trevor Hawkins

"BNSF 6069 east leads an empty coal train over Skyline Trestle on a cold and snowy December day. Skyline Trestle is the first of two trestles down the 2.2% grade of Mullan Pass on the Montana Rail Link system."


John Crisanti

"Snow continues to fall as a northbound BNSF intermodal train approaches a grade crossing just outside of Boulder, Colorado, on February 6, 2019."


Jeremy Frankovis

"As challenging as it has been to maintain social distance recently, that is certainly not a problem in the frigid, open air of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The Moffat line is a favorite place of mine to take pictures of trains through all seasons but nothing quite beats getting up there the morning after a good overnight snowstorm. It’s a scenario I welcome and a space matched by no other. Just me, the train, and the morning light. Thank you, BNSF, and stay safe out there friends!"

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