Photo courtesy of Jerry Kellogg


Photo courtesy of Jerry KelloggThree new all-electric cranes are currently being assembled at the BNSF Intermodal Facility in Edgerton. Five cranes, manufactured by Konecranes in Finland, were in operation when the shipping container transfer facility officially opened in October, 2013. Currently, the intermodal handles approximately 500,000 container lifts annually, a volume BNSF projects to swell to 1.5 million containers at full build-out. Each crane runs on 12,500 volts AC with an average current draw of 14 amps, which equals 175 kilowatts. Wide-span electric cranes produce zero emissions on-site, their electric motors reduce ambient noise and built-in directional lighting cuts down on light pollution. The cranes also generate electricity while they work; much like the regenerative braking system in electric vehicles, the cranes recharge their internal batteries each time they lower a load.  Each crane weighs 1.6 million pounds, stands over 90 feet tall, spans 276 feet wide allowing it to easily stradle two sets of railroad tracks simultaneously and travels at a top speed of 5-1/2-mph. Workers must climb a 112-step staircase to reach the top of the cranes. Although the cranes have a rated lift capacity of 80,000 pounds, BNSF accepts container/trailer units only up to 67,000 pounds.