Time to Model: BNSF Railway’s Wide Profile Handrails
BNSF Railway’s wide profile handrails started to appear on ET44 “Tier 4 GEVOs” beginning with road numbers 3721-3724, which were built in 2019. In 2020, BNSF received their next order, road numbers 3675 through 3720. It is our understanding that the complete order was not produced and stopped at 3706, with the balance either being canceled or deferred due to low traffic at the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Interestingly enough, while this order started out with the wide end rails, 3690 was the last wide profile handrail equipped unit, and road numbers 3691 through 3706 went back to the narrow end handrails. The company’s latest ES44C4s were also equipped with wide-profile handrails. This includes road numbers 3250 through 3281, also being built in 2020 as Tier 4 Credit units. These units all appear to be fitted with a new version of the LinkUp International Antenna Farm that now includes two white domes. This new PTC array will be included in our latest run of BNSF ET44 GEVOs. While we’re on the topic, Canadian National’s ET44ACs, beginning with road numbers 3133 through 3162, which were built in late 2018 through the latest production run, use the wide end rails. All previous CN ET44ACs were equipped with the narrow-end handrails. It is unclear if CN will return to the narrow-end handrails with future purchases, but for now, you can expect to see the wide type on the mainline on a regular basis.