BNSF 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. Some of the projects that will help expand capacity and improve traffic flow for all freight and passenger trains for current and future growth on 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, president and chief executive officer of BNSF. “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 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.
In North Dakota, BNSF plans to invest approximately $400 million to expand rail capacity, replace and maintain the network infrastructure and continue the implementation of Positive Train Control technology. Expansion projects include
completing construction of a second mainline 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, to expand capacity by enabling more trains to meet and pass one another on the predominately single track routes between Fargo, N.D., and Grand Forks, N.D., Fargo, N.D., and Minot, N.D., Bismarck, N.D., and Glendive, Mont., Minot, N.D., and Grand Forks, N.D., and upgrading to a Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) signal system to improve train movements between Bismarck, N.D., and Fargo, N.D. Maintenance projects include the surfacing and undercutting of more than 930 miles of track, replacing about 110 miles of rail and replacing more than 330,000 ties.
In Washington, BNSF plans to invest approximately $235 million. Expansion projects include constructing second mainline track at various locations on the route between Cheney, Wash., and Mesa, Wash.; constructing two new staging tracks near Everett, Wash.; installing a power switch at Anacortes, Wash., and planned property improvements to enhance operations at the intermodal facilities in Spokane and South Seattle, Wash. Maintenance projects include the surfacing and undercutting of more than 1,200 miles of track; replacing about 60 miles of rail and replacing more than 113,000 ties.
In Montana, BNSF plans to invest approximately $160. Expansion projects include extending track lengths at train yards in Glendive and Forsyth, Mont.; constructing a siding between Marsh and Terry, Mont.; extending train sidings at Beaver Hill, Blatchford, Hodges, Hysham and Rosebud, Mont., and upgrading to CTC and extending a train siding at Terry, Mont. Maintenance projects include the surfacing and undercutting of more than 900 miles of track; replacing about 60 miles of rail and replacing more than 145,000 ties.
In Illinois, BNSF plans to invest approximately $150 million. Approximately $12 million will be spent on expansion projects in the Chicago area. Expansion projects include constructing parking expansions at the Willow Springs Intermodal Facility and the Logistics Park Chicago Automotive Facility in Hodgkins and Elwood, Ill., respectively and constructing a new siding between Barstow and Hillsdale, Ill. Maintenance projects include surfacing and undercutting of more than 1,500 miles of track; replacing about 36 miles of rail and replacing more than 185,000 ties.
In Minnesota, BNSF plans to invest approximately $120 million. Expansion projects include parking expansions at the St. Paul Intermodal Facility in St. Paul, Minn.; adding track extensions in Gunn, Minn., and construction of a new siding and new interchange tracks close to the Canadian border near St. Vincent, Minn. Maintenance projects include surfacing and undercutting of more than 600 miles of track; replacing about 72 miles of rail and replacing more than 340,000 ties.
The investments BNSF is making along the Northern Corridor will benefit the movement of all commodities in the states along that route. This year, BNSF also plans to invest approximately $30 million in South Dakota, approximately $50 million in Wisconsin and approximately $10 million in Idaho for projects that either expand capacity or help maintain the network infrastructure.
The planned capital investments along the Northern Corridor are part of BNSF’s record 2014 capital commitment of $5 billion, which BNSF announced in February. As part of this plan, 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. Since the year 2000, BNSF has invested $42 billion to improve and expand its freight rail network.