Wednesday, February 14, 2018

BNSF details capital programs for Montana, Missouri and Kansas

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A BNSF train hauls grain in Montana. A BNSF train hauls grain in Montana. BNSF Railway

BNSF unveiled details of its planned $385 million capital plan across Montana, Missouri and Kansas. The focus of all three state programs will be on maintenance projects.

BNSF says the largest component of its $135 million Montana plan will be for replacing and upgrading rail, crossties and ballast. The maintenance program in Montana this year includes approximately 820 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work, as well as the replacement of nearly 60 miles of rail and about 200,000 crossties. BNSF also says multiple projects are scheduled on the Kootenai River Subdivision, which runs between Sandpoint, Idaho and Whitefish, Mont. BNSF will signalize various sidings on the subdivision between Sandpoint and Whitefish to enable Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) and make improvements to the Flathead Tunnel, the 7-mile long railroad tunnel in northwest Montana.

"Maintaining a safe and reliable network is one way BNSF works to keep Montana's economy moving. Freight rail connects Montana's farmers and lumber producers with the major U.S. markets, and with exports facilities ready to move their products overseas. Rail is also a vital component of getting the people of Montana the consumer products they need," said Jon Gabriel, general manager of operations, Montana Division.

The railroad's $120 million Missouri program includes approximately 730 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work, the replacement of nearly 30 miles of rail and about 220,000 crossties. The changeout of the bridge over the Grand River near Bosworth will also be completed this year.

"Missouri's position at the geographic center of the U.S. makes it a crucial point in our nation's supply chain. These maintenance and expansion projects help ensure Missouri continues to move freight across our nation, including agricultural products from farmers across the state and consumer products making their way to U.S. markets from West Coast ports," said Ben Sharpe, general manager of operations, Heartland Division.

In Kansas, the railroad's $130 million program includes approximately 900 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work, the replacement of nearly 20 miles of rail and close to 140,000 crossties. BNSF will also construct two bridges in Quenemo, and add parking bays at the Kansas City Automotive Facility.

"BNSF moves more than 3.8 million carloads of freight in Kansas each year. With access to all major U.S. markets, as well as several Mexican and Canadian markets and west coast and gulf coast ports, Kansas' importance to the overall U.S. economy only continues to increase. As a result of BNSF's projects in the state, Kansans can continue to rely on the dependability of a well-maintained rail network positioned for growth," said Matt Garland, general manager of operations, Kansas Division.

The state plans are part of the Class 1's $3.3 billion 2018 capital program. The $385 million to be spent across the three states this year is in addition to the $1 billion spent in Missouri, $875 million spent in Kansas and $850 million spent in Montana during the past five years. BNSF also recently laid out its capital plan for Washington state.