Tuesday, March 1, 2016

BNSF Investing $220 Million in Washington Infrastructure

By Mark Edward Nero

BNSF Railway has announced that its 2016 capital expenditure program in Washington will be nearly $220 million.

The Washington state plan, which BNSF revealed Feb. 16, focuses on maintenance projects to help ensure BNSF continues to operate a safe, reliable network and that also “reflects the success BNSF has had in adding capacity in prior years to support customer demand.”

The largest component of this year’s capital plan for the state is for replacing and upgrading rail, rail ties and ballast, which are the main components for the tracks on which BNSF trains operate.

Regular maintenance of the railroad allows BNSF to keep its network infrastructure in optimal condition and reduces the need for unscheduled service work that can slow down the BNSF rail network and reduce capacity.

Freight rail is considered vital to Washington, where nearly 40 percent of all jobs in the state are tied to international trade.

BNSF’s maintenance program in Washington includes more than 1,260 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work, the replacement of nearly 70 miles of rail and close to 243,000 ties, as well as signal upgrades for federally mandated positive train control (PTC).

2016 capital projects in the state also include continuing the replacement of the Washougal River bridge in Camas and follow more than $550 million invested by BNSF in its network in Washington over the past three years.

The 2016 planned capital investments in the state are part of BNSF’s $4.3 billion network-wide capital expenditure program announced in January. These investments include $2.8 billion to replace and maintain core network and related assets, about $500 million on expansion and efficiency projects, $300 million for continued implementation of PTC and more than $600 million for locomotives, freight cars and other equipment acquisitions.