In 1986, Burlington Northern Railroad received 100 new EMD SD60 locomotives for use on their system in the western half of the United States. These were not purchased or leased in a traditional manner, as BN would pay only for the kilowatt hours of electricity they generated in the course of being operated in service. Nicknamed “Oakways” for the company who actually leased them from EMD, they served BN and BNSF well for over 20 years.
Since they we not BN’s locomotives, they were painted in EMD’s demonstrator paint scheme, a big change from the hundreds of green and whtle units already on the railroad. BN also felt the maintenance could be outsourced and not be subject to union agreements since BN was just buying the “power” and neither owned or directly leased the locomotives..
See what the Oakways did and where they could be found on the vast BN and BNSF railroads between 1987 and 2010.
Bill Kepner's interest in railroads began at an early age after an American Flyer train arrived for Christmas in 1957. He resides in Fort Collins, Colorado with wife Cindy, daughter Jillian, and son Chase.