Tuesday, February 11, 2014

BNSF Pledges $5 Billion to Capital Improvement

By Mark Edward Nero

BNSF Railway says it will spend a single-year record of $5 billion in 2014 on its capital commitment plan, about $1 billion more than its 2013 capital spending.

The largest component of the capital plan, BNSF said in a Feb. 4 announcement, is spending $2.3 billion on its core network and related assets. BNSF also says it plans to spend about $1.6 billion on locomotive, freight car and other equipment acquisitions.

Much of the capacity expansion in the 2014 capital plan is for infrastructure investment on BNSF’s Northern Corridor. Expansion and efficiency projects, the rail company says, will primarily focus on line capacity improvements to accommodate growth in agricultural products, intermodal, automotive, and industrial products volumes related to crude oil production and other terminal improvements to enhance productivity and velocity.

More than $900 million in the capital plan is earmarked for expansion and maintenance in the Northern Corridor, according to the rail company.

The program also includes about $200 million for continued installation of positive train control (PTC) and $900 million for terminal, line and intermodal expansion and efficiency projects.

“Our capital plan continues to focus on improving our ability to meet our customers’ service expectations, increasing our capacity where there is growth, and strengthening our railroad,” BNSF Railway President/CEO Carl Ice said in a prepared statement. “BNSF’s capital investments are an integral part of making sure our network is well prepared for the demand for freight rail service in the U.S.”