When you think of engine facilities on the BNSF Ry., images of large, multi-bay structures; wash racks; and sand towers and fuel columns that can handle 10 or more locomotives at a time probably come to mind. And that makes perfect senses considering the railroad’s size. BNSF has facilities like this in Alliance (Neb. and Texas); Barstow and Commerce, Calif.; Chicago; Havre, Mont.; Lincoln, Neb.; Minneapolis; Kansas City, Kan.; and Seattle.
However, inbetween those major shops are smaller terminals. While railfanning the BNSF in Sioux Falls, S.D., I came across a terminal that looked like something plucked right off a model railroad. The heart of the facility is a metal enginehouse that can house two four-axle road locomotives. The structure dates back to the mid-1950s when predecessor Great Northern operated the line.
On the west side of the structure is a single-story bump-out. This is where train crews go on duty. It also houses a locker room, lunchroom, and wash facilities. As you can see in the image, they’ve added some outdoor storage using a 20-foot intermodal container and a barn-shaped garden shed, both painted beige.
To the southeast of the building is a two-track sanding tower. The tower is located between two sidings where locomotives are stored outside between assignments. The tower doesn’t serve the track that goes into the enginehouse.
What type of work goes on here? The forces at Sioux Falls take care of what are called “running repairs.” Refueling and sanding, changing burned out headlight and ditch light bulbs, and replacing brake shoes are just a few examples. The big stuff is left to one of the major shops listed above.
The Sioux Falls enginehouse could be scratchbuilt using styrene and assorted detail parts for items like the roof vents, chimney, windows, and doors. If you’re looking for some off-the-shelf options to re-create a scene similar to this, here are a few options:
Metal single-track enginehouse
Monroe Models (2219 [HO], 9219 [N])
Pikestuff (541-5000 [HO]), 541-8002 [N])
Wm. K. Walthers Inc. (933-2985 [HO])
American Limited Models (5500 [HO assembled] and 5100 [HO kit])
Plastruct (1011 [HO]) Stewart Products (115 [HO], 1114 [N])
Wm. K. Walthers Inc. (933-3182 [HO], 933-38313 [N])