The Powder River Basin lies between Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Thirteen active mines produce over 400 million tons of low-sulfur coal each year and it is up to the BNSF Railway and Union Pacific to transport it from the mines to customers throughout the United States and various ports for export.
Over 100 miles of coal hoppers roll through the Powder River Basin each day. The majority of traffic can be found along the Orin Subdivision between Donkey Creek Junction and Shawnee Junction. This is the highest tonnage mainline in the world.
The joint line serves several Powder River Basin mines including the Caballo, Belle Ayr, Cordero Rojo mines, Coal Creek, Black Thunder mines, North Antelope Rochelle and the Antelope mines. We begin at Donkey Creek Junction and follow the Orin Sub south to Shawnee Junction where joint trackage ends. Between those two points, a steady parade of long, heavy coal trains traverse the triple track main. Get ready for 117 miles of coal!