BNSF Railway has released details about its 2018 capital plan of $3.3 billion, noting that it reflects a continued focus on maintaining its network, as well as expansion projects aimed at meeting customer demands.
“Every year we work to ensure our capital investment plan enables us to continue to operate a safe and reliable rail network as well as anticipates the needs of our customers,” said Carl Ice, BNSF president and CEO. “Our attention to safety and service, along with our investments in our network, provide a solid foundation for our ability to grow with our customers today and in the future.”
The 2018 program is equal to what the Class 1 spent in 2017 and will again invest the largest portion of the program, $2.4 billion, into the replacement and maintenance of the railroad’s core network and related assets.
The projects included in the maintenance part of the plan will primarily be for replacing and upgrading rail, crossties and ballast and maintaining its rolling stock. It will include approximately 13,000 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work and the replacement of more than 500 miles of rail and nearly 3 million crossties.
“Our infrastructure is strong and robust. Our efforts to normalize our maintenance investment have positioned us to replace the right assets at the right locations at the right time,” Ice said. “This allows our maintenance investment to be at similar levels year-to-year.”
Approximately $500 million of this year’s capital plan is for expansion and efficiency projects. The majority of those projects are focused on key growth areas along BNSF’s Southern and Northern Transcon routes, connecting Southern California with Chicago and the Pacific Northwest to Upper Midwest respectively. The company has also allocated $100 million for positive train control (PTC) as it moves toward meeting the Dec. 31, 2018 implementation deadline.
BNSF notes that it is the only Class 1 freight railroad to have completed the installation of PTC on all its federally-mandated subdivisions and is currently running hundreds of trains daily with PTC as it tests revenue service across its mandated territory. Another element of its capital plan will be $300 million for freight cars and other equipment acquisitions.
BNSF says that since 2000, it has invested more than $60 billion in its network all while remaining focused on its commitment to safety, maximizing efficiency and continuing to meet customers’ expectations.