BNSF: A New Player In The Northeast Pa. Grain Business?

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On October 22, 2015 CSX¬†unit Grain Train G-056-18 left the connection at Rotterdam Jct., NY to Horizon Milling at Ayer, Ma. (over the Pan Am Southern (PAS)) with 112 loads behind CSX C40-8 #7671, BNSF SD70MAC #9883 and BNSF C44-9W #4738. I point this out because of the BNSF power on this train. With (2) BNSF units, it’s likely that this train was made up of BNSF covered hoppers and its destination (Horizon Milling) is actually now a hybrid entity called Ardent Mills.

The new major player in the flour milling industry came about (2) years ago in 2013 following the merger of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling (itself a joint venture between Cargill and CHS) to create the new company called Ardent Mills. And it seems that they’re getting some of their grain from the Midwest U.S.A. judging by the string of BNSF covered hoppers staged at Steamtown on New Year’s Day.

A small unit train of BNSF grain cars was sitting idle @ Steamtown on January 1, 2016 behind the Delaware-Lackawanna‘s three 6-axle ALCOs and the train was facing west (as if to be returning the cars to Taylor Yard). This makes at least the fourth time that I’ve seen grain trains destined for Mt. Pocono made up of BNSF covered hoppers in Scranton.

Another noteworthy observation; Ardent Mills currently has over 40 mills nationwide including York, Red Lion & Martin’s Creek, Pa. which is probably why we’ve been seeing all of those Canadian Pacific grain hoppers showing up on Trains 11R to Enola and 36T to Allentown.

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BNSF A New Player In The Northeast Pa. Grain Business?

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Author:Railfan AC

AC is a U.S. Air Force Veteran, a long haul trucker, a transportation enthusiast and a lifelong lover of trains. AC's mission is to travel America documenting American railroading in the 21st century while educating those who want to know about the importance the railroads play in our daily lives including, but not limited to, the movement of goods, services and more.

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