BNSF Locomotive

BNSF Railway (BNSF) is planning to invest $100m in Minnesota and $86m in North Dakota for railway maintenance, capacity improvements and expansion projects in 2012.

Under the project, BNSF will upgrade rail sidings to increase speed, as well as improve a US government-mandated positive train control (PTC) system.

The investment will also be used for a track maintenance programme in Minnesota, which will include 1,817 miles of surfacing and undercutting work, as well as the replacement of 42 miles of rail and 325,000 ties.

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BNSF chairman and chief executive officer Matthew Rose said: "BNSF’s investments will improve our ability to provide rail freight services to Minnesota businesses and communities, and will expand opportunities to create more jobs and growth for the Minnesota economy."

The company’s capacity improvements in North Dakota include expansion of rail sidings to boost rail capacity and signal upgrades.

Under the second project, which is funded by BNSF, Amtrak and the state of North Dakota, the company will increase the height of the track along the Devils Lake to prevent submergence of tracks due to rising water levels.

BNSF will also carry out 1,232 miles of track surfacing and undercutting work, as well as replace 67 miles of rail track and 122,000 ties.

Investments in Minnesota and North Dakota are part of the company’s $3.9bn capital investment programme for 2012, out of which around $2.1bn will be spent on improvements on the railway’s core network and related assets.

The company is also planning to invest $1.1bn on locomotives, freight cars and other equipment acquisitions.

An estimated $300m will be invested in federally-mandated PTC technology and $400m towards terminal, line and intermodal expansion and efficiency projects.

Image: The investments in Minnesota and North Dakota, US, will improve BNSF’s ability to provide rail freight services. Photo: courtesy of Railfan Jack.