Gillette gone loco?


Well-known member
Hi! No pics unfortunately, but if you look at google earth or google maps satellite view at Gillette, WY, you will find a large coal mine a few miles east of town along the I90 freeway. A few miles east of that is a large rail yard that on both apps is generally full of coal cars (some full, most empty), and some tank cars. We drove by yesterday, and it looked to all the world like that whole yard was chock full of BNSF locomotives. Storage maybe? I heard they had a lot of them down by Houston, but I was surprised to see so many there at Gillette. That is a large yard, and it appeared to be FULL of locomotives. I did find articles online from 2016 that said BNSF was storing 150 locomotives there, looks like they may still be there? But I would think by now one of the Google apps would have photographed it.
You can normally see the date of the image in Google Earth down in the lower right corner. They can vary even in the same area. I was looking at stuff in the UK and saw images as old as 2015.

That's interesting indeed. I went by there in 2012 and a bit before and saw some real activity going on with hoppers being filled as we passed by on I-90. With fewer coal-firing powerplants, there's plenty of tracks left for loco storage so that sadly makes sense that BNSF is using their yard there for that.
Gillette, WY was an interesting place when I worked there in the late 70's. There would be a coal boom and the local area's population would go off the charts. Trains going all the time........loooooong Burlington Northern coal trains ( before the BN / SF merge). Hotels / motels packed and trailers all over the place. Sugarbeet factory going full steam. Then it would slow down and Gillette became a ghost town. ...and then it would pick back up again.
Great people I met there. Some of the tallest people in one place that ever seen !