Thanks Jayasankar and Federico! Yes, RL, these sparkling new 3850's were a surprise - I thought BNSF was still working on filling the 3911-3961 + 3967-3999 groups. Always nice to see new power, even if it is a GE!
The main reason is to save on maintenance and replacement costs for traction motors. Also, anti-wheel-slip technology is apparently advanced enough to eliminate the need to spread out all the horsepower to six axles to be effective. ATSF used to be a heavy user of four-axle locos on their premium trains, and since neither major builder offers four-axle locos anymore due to the space requirements of all that EPA emissions reduction equipment, this may also be a way to have some of the benefit of a four axle unit. It's a theory, at least.
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