Starling says KCS is operating well over solid infrastructure and that the company is seeing unprecedented new business growth. In 2014, Starling says the railroad's focus will continue to be executing its strategic plan, specifically concentrating on those areas of fastest growth, including automotive, frac sand, cross-border intermodal and crude oil.
Starling outlined the Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Department's accomplishments of the past year, such as KCS' U.S. production gangs installation of approximately 600,000 crossties, and expectations for the upcoming year.
In 2013, KCS progressed on several major projects including:
• In support of a new grain facility in Jacksonville, Ill., the line between Jacksonville and Roodhouse, Ill. was rehabilitated with 18 miles of rail and 32,000 ties along with crossing and switch upgrades.
• An additional 82,000 ties, curve rail renewal and a Broken Rail Detection system was completed between Kansas City, Mo. and Roodhouse, further supporting Jacksonville and Corder, Mo. grain traffic.
• In support of future business opportunities at Port Arthur, Texas, KCS replaced nine miles of rail and upgraded ties from Beaumont to Nederland, Texas. The remainder of the line between Nederland and Port Arthur will be upgraded in 2014.
• Another 25 miles of curve rail and other priority areas were replaced across the system.
• Major tie projects were completed on the Heavener and Shreveport subdivisions (152,000 ties) and the MSLLC (89,000 ties). We are now in a regular tie cycle between Kansas City and Shreveport, which means fewer ties and less production time will be needed on an ongoing basis to maintain tie condition.
• Bridge replacement work progressed in the Sabine River bottoms with the rebuild of the Sabine River Bridge, the largest bridge in the renewal program at 2,690 feet. The remaining bridge work is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2014.
• The Shreveport Terminal Complex project was completed and placed in service in September. This project spanned 24 months and provides for a speed increase to 30 miles per hour.
• Other capacity project highlights include the construction of a 10,000 foot siding in San Diego, Texas and Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) installation through the Shreveport Terminal from Texas Avenue to Texas Junction.
Starling says 2014 will be another big year for track, capacity and capital projects tied to new business development. Major projects will include:
• Replacement of 650,000 ties across the U.S. network including major rehabilitation projects again on the MSLLC, former Gateway Western line and Artesia Subdivision;
• Replacement of 40 miles of rail across the U.S. network;
• Expansion at Jackson, Miss., adding three R&D tracks;
• Intermodal facility expansion at Kendleton, Texas and the start of construction for our new Intermodal facility in Wylie, Texas; and
• Commencement of CTC installation on the Laredo Subdivision.
In Mexico, production gangs installed approximately 300,000 ties and 111 track kilometers (68.97 miles) of new rail. KCS crews also continued rehabilitation work of the B-Line, resulting in increased speeds of 68 mph, making it the fastest stretch of railroad in Mexico.
Additional projects planned for Mexico in 2014 are a continuation of the Monterrey to Nuevo Laredo track upgrade with new rail and ties; and additional expansions at Sanchez Yard, Interpuerto San Luis Potosi and the continued development of the double track corridor between Sanchez and Nuevo Laredo.