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Burlington Northern RR


While its predecessors number more than 330 and date back as early as 1849, Burlington Northern Railroad (BN) was created on March 2, 1970, by the merger of four primary railroads: Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Co. (CB&Q); Northern Pacific Railway Co. (NP); Great Northern Railway Co. (GN); and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway Co. (SP&S).

It is interesting to note that GN's first president, James J. Hill, attempted to merge GN and NP in 1893, only to have the merger denied by the U.S. government. In 1901, Hill again tried to merge the two railroads, this time with the CB&Q, but was turned down a second time. In fact, these railroads tried to merge four times (1893, 1901, 1927, 1961) before finally receiving ICC approval.

Later, in 1980, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Co. (Frisco) was acquired and merged into BN. Each of BN's predecessor railroads played an important role in developing the American west and each has its own rich heritage. Hundreds of books have been published chronicling the colorful history of a number of these railroads.

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Last Update 01/28/01

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