BNSF Railway has agreed to spend $2.3bn on its core network and related assets, and about $1.6bn on locomotive, freight car and other equipment acquisitions in 2014, as part of its $5bn capital commitment plan.

The North American freight transportation provider will also spend about $200m to install positive train control (PTC), and over $900m for terminal, line and intermodal expansion and efficiency projects in the Northern Corridor.

BNSF Railway currently operates on 32,500 route-miles of track in 28 US states and two Canadian provinces. It reported that the current year capital spending will be $1bn more than it spent last year.

"Our capital plan continues to focus on improving our ability to meet our customers’ service expectations."

Its expansion and efficiency projects will be primarily focused 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.

BNSF Railway president and CEO Carl Ice said: "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 US.

"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 to help ensure it remains the safest means of ground transportation for freight."

BNSF Railway handled over 50% of the volume increases for the rail industry in 2013, primarily due to an 8% rise in domestic intermodal units, an 11% increase in industrial products volumes led by crude-by-rail related traffic, a 3% rise in coal volumes and a fourth-quarter surge in agricultural products.

Image: A BNSF freight train on track. Photo: courtesy of Ron Reiring.