Facebook Page

NRHS Tour of the BNSF Network Operation Center 6/19/2008

by Chris Guenzler

Chris Parker and I left the Fort Worth Miniature Railroad and what should have been a ten minute trip back to the Hilton so I could take the NRHS Bus at 2 PM for the BNSF Dispatching Center Tour turned into a thirty five minute trip. Chris dropped me off at the Hilton and I looked for a bus to take but there were not any. I went up into the NRHS Room on the third floor and they made a phone call. I could taxi out to the BNSF Dispatching Center out in North Fort Worth and hope they would let me join the tour. I decided to take the taxi at my own expense and hope for the best. A taxi was waiting and after he received some directions we took off up Interstate 35 out to Western Center Road which we made a left on. Soon I started looking for BNSF signs.

Here is the sign along Western Center Road.

Down that road brings you to this sign where we turned into a driveway and the taxi dropped me off with an $18 fare plus I gave a four dollar tip.

Along loop to the Network Operation Center are former business cars used for dinner parties and the like.

Business Car James J. Hill.

Business Car Canadian River.

Business Car Yellowstone River.

Business Car Cyrus K. Holiday. I walked into the lobby and was met by a smiling BNSF Security Officer who checked my identification and took me down an elevator to the BNSF Store where I caught up with my tour group. Once I got done there, I was told to go upstairs and wait in the gallery for our tour to start there. I went in and started taking pictures around this large room.

An Official Clock and model of the William Crook Steam Engine the first engine of the Northern Pacific Railroad.

A display case of telegraph equipment and a Prince Albert in a Can.

Many excellent paintings adorn this gallery.

Another view of that Official Clock.

Steam Engine Locomotive Bell and Northern Pacific Emblem.

Two more display cases.

James Hill's Desk and Cigar Humidor.

Dining Car China.

BNSF Locomotive Model.

Painting of the Stone Arch Bridge in the Twin Cities.

A model of a Frisco Locomotive.

Display of Rails and other things.

Northern Pacific Steam Engine Model.

Great Northern Steam Engine Model.

This display case had many interesting items inside of it.

A Great Northern Engine Model.

Two more views of the far end of the room.

Santa Fe Super Fleet Emblem.

Frisco Emblem.

Santa Fe Dining Car China.

Passenger Timetables and other materials.

Dining Car Materials and a few other things.

Many historical things are found throughout this gallery.

Out in the hall many Safety Awards are on display.

When the rest of our group arrived we were given a tour of the galley.

Rail is the most important piece of railroading. Once our tour here was done, we then proceeded as a group through key card activated doors.

We went out onto a bridge enclosed by glass and below us was the former Business Car Canadian River. We were then lead into a room with curtains on one side and sat around a large table. Here a movie about the History and People of the BNSF Railroad was shown to us. I learned a few things watching this program. At the end of the program, the curtains opened up revealing below the BNSF Network Operation Center also known as the BNSF Dispatching Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

Down below are 91 dispatching cubes that handle most of the BNSF Railroad. There are joint local offices with the Union Pacific Railroad in San Bernardino, California, Springs, Texas and Kansas City, Missouri. Overhead screens are updated by the minute of facts and other information with regards to railroad operations.

Each dispatcher has a view of the large screens from their workplace.

The Screens are changing every few minutes.

The passenger train desks are against the far wall.

Dispatchers busy at work!

View of one of the dispatcher's stations.

If a train crew has an emergency a white light flashes on and off until the phone is picked up. We witnessed this happening during our visit.

Two more dispatchers hard at work.

This building is designed to withstand any tornado or other natural or man made disasters.

Two more views looking down into the Network Operation Center.

Bake Off/Bake Sale Information on one of the screens. Another screen then caught my eye.

Amtrak On Time Performance.

Chicago Commuter On Time Performance.

Metrolink Commuters On Time Performance.

Seattle Commuters On Time Performance.

New Mexico Commuters On Time Performance.

Locomotive MDBF.

It was now time to leave the BNSF Network Operation Center. I went outside to wait and took the pictures out front at the beginning of this story. I then boarded the bus for Fort Worth back to the Hilton Hotel. A special thank you to the BNSF for having us and to the NRHS for providing me with the opportunity to finally get to see this incredible place.

Chris Parker was waiting for me out in front of the Hilton and soon we were heading north out of Fort Worth to our first stop on the way to Oklahoma which would be at the Saginaw Crossing.

Our wait here was not long as soon Amtrak's Heartland Flyer passed our location with my former San Diegan F40PH 229 now the Cabbage 90229 leading the train.

Over on the former Fort Worth & Denver we found a BNSF coal train waiting. We headed north following the railroad the best we could.

At Ponder, Texas we took time to ponder as we took pictures of this Santa Fe Caboose now serving another use.

We headed for Gainesville, Texas where we stopped for dinner and had a buffet. Before we left town though, we found the former Santa Fe Gainesville Station. We took Interstate 35 across the Red River into Oklahoma and drove thirty miles to Ardmore where we checked into the Best Western Ardmore Inn for the night.