BNSF plans to expand rail capacity

BNSF plans to expand rail capacity

- BNSF plans capital investment of $4.3b for 2013.

- Capacity enhancement projects planned in North Dakota, Montana and Washington.

- BNSF is "expanding capacity where growth is occurring."

BNSF Railway Co. plans to invest in several maintenance and rail capacity expansion projects this year, according to an announcement.

This includes an estimated investment of $115 million in Montana, $220 million in North Dakota and $125 million in Washington.

BNSF's 2013 capacity enhancement projects in Washington include construction of two receiving and departure tracks nearly 7,000 ft. long at BNSF's Delta yard in Everett, Wash.; expanding BNSF's automotive distribution facility at Orillia, Wash., to support growth in new automobile traffic, and signal upgrades for federally mandated positive train control (PTC).

BNSF will continue its track maintenance program in Washington, which will include nearly 2,800 miles of track surfacing and undercutting work and replacing about 175 miles of rail and 110,000 railroad ties.

"BNSF's capital investments in Washington will help ensure that our network is prepared for growing demand for freight rail," BNSF chairman and chief executive officer Matthew K. Rose said.

BNSF will expand capacity in Montana by constructing three new unit train staging tracks about three miles east of Glasgow, Mont., and will enhance safety by adding machine vision technology at Miles City, Mont., to help detect damaged equipment.

BNSF will also continue its track maintenance program in Montana, which will include more than 2,300 miles of track surfacing and undercutting work, replacing nearly 100 miles of rail and about 310,000 ties as well as significant signal upgrades for PTC.

In North Dakota, BNSF's 2013 capacity enhancement projects include: constructing three new sidings west of Minot near Manitou, Tioga and Palermo, N.D.; extending the sidings near Glen Ullin and Hillsboro, N.D.; improving six sidings between Minot and Grand Forks, N.D.; raising 10 miles of track over Devils Lake by 1-5 ft. to keep the track above rising water; upgrading the line between Berthold and Northgate, N.D., on the Canadian border; installing centralized traffic control signal systems on three sidings near Devils Lake, Hillsboro and Towner, N.D.; constructing a new double crossover track east of Williston, N.D., and lengthening existing tracks or adding new tracks at BNSF rail yards in Mandan, Minot and Williston.

BNSF will also continue its track maintenance program in North Dakota, which will include nearly 1,900 miles of track surfacing and undercutting work, replacing about 315 miles of rail and 415,000 ties and making signal upgrades for PTC.

"We are focused on investing to meet our customers' expectations and on expanding capacity where growth is occurring," Rose said. "Given the importance of a low-cost supply chain to the U.S. economy, our privately funded rail infrastructure is well positioned to help all Montana and North Dakota industries compete in global markets."

The planned capital investments in Washington, Montana and North Dakota are part of BNSF's record 2013 capital commitment of $4.3 billion.

The largest component of the capital plan is spending $2.3 billion on BNSF's core network and related assets. BNSF also plans to spend approximately $1 billion on locomotive, freight car and other equipment acquisitions, many of which will serve Montana.

The program additionally includes about $200 million for PTC and $800 million for terminal, line and intermodal expansion and efficiency projects.

Since 2000, BNSF has invested more than $42 billion to improve and expand its freight rail network.

Volume:85 Issue:34

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