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BNSF Winter Drone Flights

BNSF Winter Drone Flights
BNSF Winter Drone Flights

Location:  Corson County, South Dakota
Client:  BNSF Railway


BNSF Railway wanted to document the difficult winter conditions faced in the northern Great Plains, planning to inform and educate people both within the company and without. Having worked closely with Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) over the years—and recently engaging with HEI to test the uses of drones in the field—BNSF retained HEI to help in its efforts.

The Project

HEI traveled to the site of a snow-buried train in South Dakota. Snow drifts reached the tops of several train cars, and it took a full week to extract the train and reopen the tracks.
Drone flights led by an HEI pilot captured the efforts to free the train. This included recording BNSF’s large rotary snowplow in action—a cross between a train engine and a giant snow blower. This marked the first time BNSF had ever recorded such footage of its rotary snowplow in action.

After several days on site, HEI and BNSF had successfully captured an excess of video and photos from the flights to document the efforts undertaken along the tracks and share these efforts with others.