BNSF invests $1b in Northern Corridor

BNSF invests $1b in Northern Corridor

BNSF invests in new construction and maintenance projects to improve transportation.

BNSF Railway Co. has kicked off its plan to invest approximately $1 billion to improve and expand rail capacity in states along its Northern Corridor, which spans the northern U.S. between the Pacific Northwest and Chicago, Ill.

The planned capital investments along the Northern Corridor are part of BNSF's record capital commitment of $5 billion for 2014, which it announced in February. As part of this commitment, BNSF plans to spend approximately $1.6 billion on locomotive, freight car and other equipment acquisitions, which will be put into service all across its network.

Some of the projects that will help expand capacity and improve traffic flow for all freight and passenger trains along those routes are well underway.

"Following our record capital investment in 2013 of $4 billion, we are making the most significant capital investment in our history of approximately $5 billion this year," said Carl Ice, BNSF president and chief executive officer. "Our capital investments along the Northern Corridor are critical to expanding our capacity to support the region's rapidly growing economy, improving our ability to meet our customers' expectations and ensuring that our railroad remains the safest mode of ground transportation for freight."

Highlights of BNSF's planned capital investments along the Northern Corridor include parts of North Dakota, Washington, Montana, Illinois and Minnesota as follows:

* In North Dakota, BNSF plans to invest approximately $400 million to expand rail capacity, replace and maintain the network infrastructure and continue implementing Positive Train Control technology.

Expansion projects in North Dakota include completing construction of a second mainline track — referred to as double track — between Minot, N.D., and Glasgow, Mont., to expand capacity for all traffic moving on this route in the Northern Corridor, constructing new sidings and tracks adjacent to the mainline track and expanding capacity by enabling more trains to meet and pass one another on the predominately single-track routes in the state.

* BNSF plans to invest approximately $235 million in Washington to construct a second mainline track at various locations on the route between Cheney and Mesa, Wash., and two new staging tracks near Everett, Wash. It also plans to install a power switch at Anacortes, Wash., and complete planned property improvements to enhance operations at the intermodal facilities in Spokane and South Seattle, Wash.

* In Montana, BNSF plans to invest approximately $160 million to extend track lengths at train yards in Glendive and Forsyth, Mont.; construct a siding between Marsh and Terry, Mont.; extend train sidings at Beaver Hill, Blatchford, Hodges, Hysham and Rosebud, Mont., and upgrade to centralized traffic control and extend a train siding at Terry.

* BNSF will invest approximately $150 million in Illinois to construct parking expansions at the Willow Springs Intermodal Facility and the Logistics Park Chicago Automotive Facility in Hodgkins and Elwood, Ill., respectively. The company will also construct a new siding between Barstow and Hillsdale, Ill.

* BNSF plans to spend approximately $120 million in Minnesota for parking expansions at the St. Paul Intermodal Facility in St. Paul, Minn.; to add track extensions in Gunn, Minn., and to construct a new siding and new interchange tracks close to the Canadian border near St. Vincent, Minn.

BNSF said the investments it is making along the Northern Corridor will benefit the movement of all commodities in the states along that route.

In addition to the Northern Corridor projects, BNSF also plans to invest approximately $30 million in South Dakota, $50 million in Wisconsin and $10 million in Idaho for projects that either expand capacity or help maintain the network infrastructure.

It said South Dakota will benefit from BNSF Northern Corridor investments made in neighboring states. Most of the corn and soybeans produced in South Dakota are exported (approximately 75-80%), and the majority of those crops are delivered to ports in the Pacific Northwest on BNSF's network.

According to BNSF, it hauls more grain than any other railroad and, since 2000, has invested $42 billion to improve and expand its freight rail network.

Volume:86 Issue:20

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