News & Reviews News Wire BNSF’s new Sandpoint, Idaho, bridge nears opening

BNSF’s new Sandpoint, Idaho, bridge nears opening

By Bruce Kelly | October 10, 2022

Structurally complete, new bridge should see first trains in November

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories, and more from brands. Sign-up for email today!

Front view of train crossing bridge with second bridge under construction at left
BNSF train Z-CHCSSE crosses the ex-NP bridge over Lake Pend Oreille near Sandpoint, Idaho, on Oct. 2, 2022. The adjacent second second bridge is now structurally complete and is expected to enter service by late November. Bruce Kelly

SANDPOINT, Idaho — BNSF Railway’s nearly mile-long second bridge across Lake Pend Oreille near Sandpoint is now structurally complete and tracklaying has begun. BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent says, “The new bridge will have trains operating over it by the end of November.”

Initially, the second main will be laid from a point near the northwest (railroad east) end of the bridge to the beginning of current double track at East Algoma, across the lake from Sandpoint. Two smaller bridges, across Sand Creek and Bridge Street in Sandpoint, will not have their second main track laid until 2023.

Completion of the second main all the way to Sandpoint Junction, where BNSF and Montana Rail Link connect, will require further preparation of the narrow right-of-way past Sandpoint’s ex-Northern Pacific depot served by Amtrak’s Empire Builder.  BNSF says the depot platform will be rebuilt to allow the second main to fit between the depot and the existing main.

After the second bridge over Lake Pend Oreille is placed in service, BNSF plans to resume the process — which began in 2008 — of replacing piers and deck segments on the existing ex-NP bridge, which dates to 1904.

Train passing ornate passenger depot
Grain train G-TUSKAL off BNSF’s ex-GN Hi Line, rolls through Sandpoint Junction, Idaho, and past the ex-NP Sandpoint depot on Oct. 2, 2022. BNSF says the depot platform will be rebuilt to make space for a second main track. Bruce Kelly

7 thoughts on “BNSF’s new Sandpoint, Idaho, bridge nears opening

  1. Once 2nd bridge fully operational how will the repairs on the original bridge effect use of it? Full closure or times it will be available?

  2. How far was the NP depot from the GN depot?

    Does AMTRAK stop at the X NP or XGN depot?

    Ed Burns
    Retired NP BN BNSF

    1. Amtrak stops at the ex NP depot in the picture. The Sandpoint sign pictured on the ex NP depot came off the ex GN depot, which is now on the POVA short line and not on the current BNSF main.

    2. The ex-GN station is on BNSF’s Newport subdivision between Boyer and Dover. POVA trackage begins west of Dover, operating on BNSF east of Dover. However, train movements on the segment between Dover and Sandpoint including past the ex-GN station at Sandpoint are authorized by the UP dispatcher since the vast majority of the movements on the segment of track are UP trains.

    3. The former GN and former NP stations in Sandpoint are about 1.5 miles apart as the crow flies, 1.8 miles driving. The ex-GN station is at the west end of Main Street.

  3. Plenty of room for a second main track in front of the station. Slightly move the existing main towards the trees, move the platform closer to the station(ideal anyways without a canopy) and viola…room for the second main.

You must login to submit a comment