PROJECTS    Railroads
BNSF Flathead Tunnel Ventilation System Improvements Design and Construction Management

Whitefish, Montana

The BNSF awarded MULTATECH a project to conduct an operational study and provide design services and construction support for a 7-mile railroad tunnel in need of an upgraded ventilation system.  The study focused on determining the most efficient way to operate the tunnel in order to maximize train capacity.

MULTATECH developed and conducted on-site validation to test a mathematical model for the tunnel.  By utilizing the model, we developed and assisted the BNSF in implementing an operational scheme which maximizes the capacity of the tunnel.

The ventilation system upgrade included the replacement of two existing 2,000HP fan motors and all associated equipment.  The final design required new motors to be installed with new Variable Frequency Drives (VFD), two new 2,000HP back-up generators, all associated switchgear, power distribution, equipment, and controls.  The project also included a 4,000 square foot building to house the switchgear and a control room, as well as the demolition and reconstruction of a 24 x 15 x 42 feet high relief vent structure.

Our design increased capacity of the tunnel by 30%, while reducing the average energy consumption by approximately 30% per train.





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