Wednesday, December 26, 2012

KCS’ Starling outlines infrastructure plans in state of the railroad

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David L. Starling, Kansas City Southern's president and CEO, outlined the state of the railroad in a letter dated Dec. 21 and posted to the KCS website. Starling says the railroad's 125th anniversary year has been a success; something he aims to continue into 2013.

The upcoming year will focus on further developing KCS' cross-border gateway strategy to extend its network reach in order to provide customer solutions beyond markets that it serves directly. Part of this strategy includes extensive investment in infrastructure on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Starling pointed out the highlights of KCS' infrastructure investment:

In the U.S., production gangs installed more than 600,000 ties, including the Gulfport line rehabilitation, and 47 track miles of new rail. Major projects completed include:

• 16 miles of rail installed between Beaumont, Texas and Dequincy, La.;

• Five miles of rail replaced on the Port Neches, Texas line;

• 25 miles of curved rail installed across the system;

• 100,000 ties replaced on the Laredo subdivision;

• 163,000 ties replaced on the Shreveport subdivision;

• Five-year tie cycle program work on the Greenville, New Orleans, Gateway and Artesia subdivisions;

• 67,000 ties replaced on the Meridian Speedway;

• Siding capacity improvements at McElhaney, Mo. and Spear, Texas;

• First bridge replaced in the Sabine River bottoms and start of a second bridge replacement to be completed in second quarter 2013;

• Yard expansions at Artesia, Miss. and Kraft, La.;

• The Gulfport TIGER stimulus project, which over two years included, replacement of 60 miles of rail and 67,500 ties and $12 million in bridge improvements, including five major bridge rehabilitations; and

• Progression of work in the Shreveport Terminal Complex with expected completion in second quarter 2013. Upon completion, KCS will have double main line of uninterrupted 30 mile per hour track through the area.

Next year will be another big year for track, capacity and capital projects tied to new business development. Major projects will include:

• Replacement of 550,000 ties and 20 miles of curved rail across the U.S. network;

• Installation of 150,000 ties on the Heavener and Shreveport subdivisions and significant work on the Beaumont, Greenville, Artesia and Alexandria subdivisions;

• Installation of 90,000 ties between Kansas City, Mo. and Roodhouse, Ill. and another 30,000 ties to rebuild the line to support new grain elevators at Jacksonville, Ill. and Corder, Mo.;

• Replacement of 90,000 ties on the Meridian Speedway over the next two years;

• New siding construction at San Diego, Texas; and

• Completion of the Shreveport Terminal Complex expansion project with additional Centralized Traffic Control.

In Mexico, KCS installed the highest number of ties to date. Projects completed this year, included:

• Installation of 342,780 wood and concrete ties between Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo;

• Upgrade of 26.7 miles of track from 115-pound rail to 136-pound rail between Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo;

• Replacement of 57.8 track miles system-wide of 115-pound rail with 136-pound rail;

• Construction of 29 new turnouts;

• Construction of 12 new culverts on the Tamasopo district;

• Construction of double track from Rojas to Ramos Arizpe and from Sanchez to Nuevo Laredo;

• Sidings extensions at Balsas and San Andres on the Caltzontzin district;

• Reconfiguration of the Benjamin Mendez track;

• Extension of parking at the intermodal facility in Toluca;

• Expansion of the pad and bonded area at Interpuerto;

• Construction of the pad at Salinas Victoria;

• Maintenance of way projects that increased the speed on the Tamasopo district from 24.8 miles to 37.2 miles per hour over 13.6 miles of track; on the Tula district from 37 to 50 miles per hour on eight miles of track and 18 to 25 miles per hour on the Caltzontzin district over 40 miles of track; 18 to 21 miles per hour on 11.1 miles of track; 15 to 21 miles per hour over 5.5 miles of track; and

• Start of construction of three tracks as part of the Sanchez Yard expansion.

In Mexico in 2013, KCS is planning important investments in track, including:

• Continuation of a primary project, the line between Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo, installing 27 track miles with new 136-pound rail and 75,000 concrete ties;

• Replacing 56,000 ties between Corondiro and Lázaro Cárdenas to support 136-pound rail;

• Undercutting 28 miles of track around the network, replacing ballast and changing the rail in 29 crossovers from 115-pound rail to 136-pound rail;

• Installing more than 312,000 ties and a total of 69 miles of rail, both 115-pound rail and 136-pound rail, (including the line from Monterrey to Nuevo Laredo); and

• A second phase of Sanchez yard, including more switch tracks, a north lead, locomotive and car repair tracks as part of the five-year plan for this yard.

Additional sizeable projects will include:

• The extension of the Los Chivos and Corondiro sidings on the Caltzontzin district to 9,800 feet;

• Extension of the Maravatio and Ixtlahuaca sidings to support the projected growth over the Puerta Mexico, TAT and Toluca intermodal facilities;

• Construction of a new wye track at Ahorcado;

• Upgrade at Vanegas Yard;

• Extension of the San Cristobal siding;

• Relocation of the Ruben Jaramillo Yard;

• Expansion of track at Palm Island to build capacity and support incremental volume growth; as well as

• Track and concrete pad upgrades at the Salinas Victoria, San Luis Potosi and Toluca intermodal facilities.

"The Operations department continues to invest smartly ahead of growth in both the U.S. and Mexico. We are consistently impressed by our team's ability to accept and meet new challenges. Our franchise is unique, as are our opportunities, and we continue to develop innovative ways to meet our customers' needs as we progress to becoming the best growth story in North America," said Starling.

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