SOURCE: BNSF Railway Company

October 31, 2007 14:15 ET

Minnesota Short-Line Railroad Receives BNSF Achievement Award

FORT WORTH, TX--(Marketwire - October 31, 2007) - Fergus Falls, Minnesota-based Otter Tail Valley Railroad (OTVR) has received a Short-Line Achievement Award from BNSF Railway Company. The award was presented to Pam Slifka, OTVR's general manager, by Pete Rickershauser, BNSF's vice president, Network Development, at BNSF's twelfth annual Short-Line Conference October 15 at Fort Worth.

"This line began operations in late August of 1986, and is one of the earliest line sales by BNSF's predecessor railroad Burlington Northern," said Rickershauser. "Part of the RailAmerica family, OTVR has experienced a compound annual growth rate of nearly 12.5 percent over the past 12 years. In the past two years, OTVR has attracted two large customers to their property: a second grain shuttle-train loading facility and an ethanol plant."

"We have a very good working relationship with the BNSF," said Slifka. "On a local level, we work very closely with them to integrate our unit trains and our merchandise trains into the flow of traffic in their busy terminal up in the Fargo/Moorhead area. On a more global level, we work with the folks in Fort Worth, particularly the Marketing Department, to bring new business to the railroad."

OTVR delivers coal to Otter Tail Power Company's Hoot Lake Plant near Fergus Falls. Other commodities handled include grain and lubricating oils. The railroad has 12 employees who have worked more than 2,800 days with only one personal injury reportable to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Short-Line Achievement Awards also were presented to Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad of Wichita, Kan., and Portland & Western Railroad of Salem, Ore.

"These outstanding short lines typify the kind of relationship that exists between BNSF and our short lines and that works to the ultimate benefit of all our customers," said Rickershauser. "These awards recognize especially the resourcefulness and achievements of three short lines that have gone beyond our expectations through innovation, determination and hard work to build new business for our railroads and new service products for our shared customers."

BNSF connects with nearly 200 short lines, regional carriers and switch carriers. They operate almost 19,000 miles of track. Through August of this year, BNSF shipments that originated or terminated on short lines accounted for about 18.5 percent of BNSF revenues. Of BNSF revenues attributed to shipments originating or terminating on short lines, 56 percent were Industrial Products commodities while 27 percent were Agricultural and related products.

"Short lines provide intense customer focus, resourcefulness, operational flexibility, and a local presence in their communities," said Rickershauser. "We see their role expanding in the future as they bring new customers and new products to the rail network, do more gathering and distribution, and assemble blocks of cars for integration with BNSF's network of main-line trains."

A subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (NYSE: BNI), BNSF Railway operates one of the largest railroad networks in North America, with about 32,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. The railway is among the world's top transporters of intermodal traffic, moves more grain than any other American railroad, transports the components of many of the products we depend on daily, and hauls enough low-sulfur coal to generate about ten percent of the electricity produced in the United States. BNSF Railway is an industry leader in Web-enabling a variety of customer transactions at

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