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New Westminster, British Columbia's BNSF Braid Yard

by Elizabeth Guenzler

The twice-yearly trips to the model railway shows in Burnaby always included visits to the rail yards in the area. On the way to Burnaby is the City of New Westminster and Burlington Northern Santa Fe's New Westminster office located in the former Great Northern station beside Braid Yard. Stops here over the years provided some unique visitors, a famous steam engine and other surprises.

The joint Canadian National and Great Northern station in New Westminster on July 26th, 1968. Photograph by A.H. Coverdale.

Burlington Northern SD40-2 7111 on October 20th, 1999.

Burlington Northern SD40-2 7879 as second unit on this freight train.

Burlington Northern 7111 and 7879 lead a freight train through Braid.

The yard switchers, Burlington Northern Santa Fe SW1000 3616 (nee BN 391) and SW1000 3615 (nee BN 390) were also here on October 20th, 1999.

BNSF SW10000 3615 (nee BN 390) still in BN paint but lettered for BNSF.

BN SD40-2 7803 leads an interesting train through Braid Yard on November 14th, 1999.

BN SD40-2 6816 and ATSF B40-8 7431 as second and third units on this freight train.

The first B40-8 I had seen.

However, the real surprise was BNSF SDP40F 6965 (ex. ATSF 5255, nee Amtrak 526).

BNSF SD40 7308, nee Canadian National 5141 followed in this consist.

Canadian Pacific/SOO SD40-2 66032 with the giveaway SOO number board and the dual flag paint scheme.

Canadian Pacific SD40-2 5766 brought up the rear of this colourful freight on November 14th , 1999.

Burlington Northern caboose 12584 at Braid Yard on the same day.

March 19th, 2000 found BN GP53 3111 with Skytrain extension construction in the background.

Also here was BNSF SW1200 3536 (ex. BN 191, nee NP 135).

A visit here on Remembrance Day 2001 found BNSF GP39-2 2705 (nee BN 2705).

BNSF GP38-2 2279 (ex. BN 2279, nee St. Louis-San Francisco 424) was the second unit.

BNSF GP40 3022 (ex. BN 3523, exxx. BN 3038, nee Chicago, Burlington and Quincy 638) brought up the rear of this parked trio of engines.

A little further down was BNSF SW15 3469 (nee BN 323) and SW10 3617 (nee BN 392).

St. Patrick's Day 2002 brought BNSF C44-9W 5301, C44-9W 4752 and SW1500 3450 (ex. BN 304, nee Great Northern 2042).

The above light engine move heading east under the Braid signal bridge.

BNSF SW1500 3450 (ex. BN 304, nee Great Northern 2042).

Also here that day, but not wearing green, was BNSF GP38-2 2261 (ex. BN 2261, nee St. Louis-San Francisco 2261) and GP383-2 2354 (ex. BN 2354, nee St. Louis-San Francisco 684).

Not to be outdone, Union Pacific AC4400CW 7038 leads a three-unit Canadian National train through Braid Yard on November 9th, 2003.

On March 29th, 2003, BNSF C44-9W 5415 sat at Braid Yard waiting its next assignment.

With 5415 was BNSF C44-9W 779 in Santa Fe warbonnet livery.

A visit on November 9th, 2003, a light engine move came through with CSX C40-8 7495 (nee Conrail 6046), BNSF 5408 and another BNSF engine.

A rare visitor to New Westminster (and indeed British Columbia) was CSX C40-8 7495 (nee Conrail 6046).

This Canadian National freight, led by SD60F 55192 passed by the former Great Northern station on January 25th, 2004. Photograph by Bob Alkire.

Timing is everything! An eastbound BNSF freight train goes under the Braid signal bridge as a two-car Skytrain passes on January 25th, 2004. Photograph by Bob Alkire.

BNSF GP40M 3005 (ex. BN 3506, exx. BN 3028, nee CB&Q 628) was found at Braid Yard on March 13 th, 2005.

The trees are starting to get their leaves on April 14th 2007 when BNSF SW1200 3535 (ex. BN 193, nee NP 134) was espied at a quite-empty Braid Yard.

The morning sun shines on BNSF SW1000 3617 (nee BN 392) on March 13th, 2005.

BNSF SW1000 3651 (ex. BN 583, nee CB&Q 9319) was another switcher of interest this mid-March day.

BNSF C44-9W 4857 passing under the signal bridge on April 14th, 2007. Photograph by Bob Alkire.

BNSF SD40-2 6706 (nee BN 6706) in the morning sun on March 13th, 2005.

A very unique "Q" symbol around the Santa Fe logo on a boxcar on March 17th, 2002.

The next few pictures warranted a day off work so I had couple of drives and an hour-and-a-half ferry ride to see Southern Pacific 4-8-4 4449 for the first time during its visit to New Westminster for the annual BNSF Employee Appreciation Special on July 14th, 2000.

The builder's plate and plaques on Southern Pacific 4-8-4 4449.

Southern Pacific 4-8-4 4449 and its tender on display at New Westminster.

BNSF C44-9W 4449 as backup power to the BNSF Employee Appreciation Special July 14th, 2000.

Daylight Locomotive Works (DMLX) tool car 5811 as part of the SP 4449 consist on display in New Westminster. While the public were not allowed on the train, yellow caution tape was strung along and the train was on the closest track to the station and parking lot. Therefore, these consist pictures were taken with those constraints.

BNSF power/baggage car 51 "Snoqualmie Pass" (nee BNA 30). Part of the BNSF 2000 Employee Appreciation Special consist.

BNSF business car 5 "Atchison" (nee ATSF 52).

BNSF business car 8 "John S. Reed" (nee ATSF 53).

BNSF business car 7 "Santa Fe" (nee ATSF 50).

Looking down the tracks along the consist of the 2000 BNSF Employee Appreciation special.

BNSF sleeper 67 "Donner Pass" (nee ATSF 67 "Regal Manor").

BNSF sleeper 64 "Marias Pass" (nee ATSF 64 "Regal Hunt").

BNSF bi-level coach/lounge 40 "Fox River" (nee BNA 31 "Silver Fox").

BNSF bi-level coach 41 "Flathead River" (nee BNA 32).

BNSF bi-level coach 42 "Skagit River" (nee BNA 33).

BNSF full dome/lounge 31 "Bay View" (nee ATSF 60). This was the rear of the train. I started to talk with one of the employees and noticing my interest and enthusiasm, popped inside the train and soon returned with a souvenir brochure and postcards from the World's Fair Daylight train.

A visitor to New Westminster on June 23rd, 1996, was City of Prineville Railway boxcar 7074. Photographer unknown.

March 19th, 2000 found Skytrain extension construction well underway but not much activity in the yard.

VIA FP9 6304 (nee CN 6509) in California Zephyr recreation livery for the April 2004 trip. This is owned by IFE Leasing of Saugus, California. Photograph by the late Michael Coles on April 3 rd, 2004.

Surprise visitors to Braid Yard were Alaska Railroad SD70 4317 and 4324 with Skytrain passing overhead. Photograph by the late Michael Coles on May 25th, 2004.


Just over the Patullo Bridge on the other side of the Fraser River is Brownsville and River Road. Amtrak Cascades goes through here and over the years, I caught some interesting items here.

BCOL C420 631 (nee Lehigh and Hudson River 25 1966) letter '31' for impending delivery to the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad was captured on St. Patrick's Day 2002. This was the last Alco for British Columbia Railway.

Western Rail (WRIX) SD40-2 761, nee BCOL 761 was photographed by the late Michael Coles on October 9th, 2003.

BNSF C44-9W 4124 led EMDX Oakway SD60 9085 through Brownsville on March 15th, 2003.

EMDX SD60 9085 was the first of the Oakway locomotives that I had seen.

Fraser-Surrey Docks S-2 0903 (ex. Esso 903 1995, exx. Esso 590, exxx. DES 590, nee Terminal Railroad Association 590 1981) was found here on July 5th, 2002.

Southern Railway of B.C. SW900 (ex. B.C. Hydro 900 nee B.C. Electric 900) at Fraser-Surrey Docks on March 17th, 2002.

IDC Distribution GK108 (green kid) 001 (ex. Railpower Technologies 001 1994, exx. Railpower Technologies 8134 2004, exxx. Alstom 8134 2002, nee Canadian Pacific SW1200 8134) at Fraser-Surrey Docks on February 10th, 2005. Photograph by the late Michael Coles.

Visits to Braid Yard and less frequently, Brownsville, were always anticipated as I never knew what I would find. The side trip to Braid Yard and the other mainland railyards added to the fun and enjoyment of the day's activities.