BNSF plans $326 million capital program in Minnesota
FORT WORTH, Texas -- BNSF Railway Company will invest an estimated $326 million for key rail capacity improvement projects in Minnesota in the coming year, an increase over 2014, the company announced on Thursday.
FORT WORTH, Texas - BNSF Railway Company will invest an estimated $326 million for key rail capacity improvement projects in Minnesota in the coming year, an increase over 2014, the company announced on Thursday.
The rail system in Minnesota is under increasing strain as more grain and oil from the Bakken Oil Fields are shipped by rail. The state of Minnesota estimates that each week, the BNSF Railway Company moves anywhere from 37 to 52 trains of 100-cars holding oil from the Bakken Field.
“This year’s substantial investments in Minnesota are a clear reflection of how important our operations in the state are to our overall network and our unwavering commitment to always operating safely – for our people and the communities in which we operate,” said Tom Albanese, BNSF general manager operations Twin Cities Division, in a news release. “We know our customers are competing in a fast-paced, global economy where a smooth, efficient supply chain can be the difference between winning and losing in the marketplace. This year’s planned expansion and maintenance projects will help give BNSF the capacity flexibility it needs to support our customers’ growing demands and connect Minnesota products to key markets as well as benefit Northstar and Amtrak, which operate on our network.”
In the Willmar area, BNSF’s 2015 capital projects will include:
Replacing rail ties from about Willmar to about Cottonwood.
Adding three new turnouts in the yard.
BNSF’s 2015 capital projects in Minnesota include:
• Constructing double track segments from Big Lake to Becker and from Little Falls to Darling totaling 13 miles, as well as starting to grade for a double track project from Randall to Lincoln to be completed in 2016.
• Installing Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) signaling projects along the Monticello, Staples and St. Croix subdivisions. A CTC system helps manage rail traffic by improving train flows and efficiency.
• Constructing a two-mile double track segment from Minneapolis Junction to St. Anthony.
• Converting a section of track in the Dayton’s Bluff area of St. Paul to a third main line track.
• Building a new train siding along the Noyes subdivision to enable trains on the same line to pass resulting in better train flows.
Unlike other modes of freight transportation, U.S. railroads own and maintain their own networks, the company said in the news release. BNSF’s maintenance program in Minnesota will include 269 miles of track surfacing and undercutting work, replacement of 125 miles of rail and about 427,000 ties, as well as signal upgrades for federally-mandated positive train control (PTC).
The planned capital investments in Minnesota are part of BNSF’s record 2015 capital commitment of $6 billion, which was announced in November and is the company’s largest planned capital expenditure in its history. These investments include $2.9 billion to replace and maintain core network and related assets, nearly $1.5 billion on expansion and efficiency projects, $200 million for continued implementation of PTC and $1.4 billion for locomotives, freight cars and other equipment acquisitions.