Great Northern, Northern Pacific, and Chicago, Burlington & Quincy merge to become the Burlington Northern Railroad on March 3, 1970.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 11/03/2005
  • Essay 7532
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On March 3, 1970, the Great Northern Railway, the Northern Pacific Railroad, and the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad merge to become the Burlington Northern Railroad. The Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway is also absorbed into the new line, which has 24,398 miles of track.

The Great Northern and the Northern Pacific were two of four transcontinental lines that served Puget Sound beginning at the turn of the twentieth century. The growth of passenger air travel and the Interstate Highway system after World War II resulted in the demise of many railroads and the consolidation of others. Although major roads such as the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific disappeared completely, consolidated lines such as the Burlington Northern and the Union Pacific prospered.

In 1980, the Burlington Northern picked up the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. In 1995, the Burlington Northern merged with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe to become Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Sources: "Santa Fe Pacific Proposes Stock Purchase," The New York Times, January 25, 1995, p. D-4; Carlos Schwantes, Railroad Signatures Across the Pacific Northwest (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1993), 304.

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