BNSF Railway and New Mexico DOT Reach Agreement on Future Commuter Rail Line Between Belen and Trinidad

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – BNSF Railway Co. (BNSF) on Nov. 28 announced that an agreement has been reached with the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) to sell the nearly 300-mile BNSF main rail line between Belen, N.M. and Trinidad, Colo.

The sale will be closed in segments for a total of $76 million to create a commuter rail line. Under the agreement, BNSF keeps on-going freight easement rights on the line, and NMDOT also has acquired a 13-acre portion of BNSF’s Albuquerque rail yard property. The sale and commencement of service are contingent on completion of other agreements anticipated by early next year.

"My goal of moving New Mexico forward by creating fast, convenient commuter train service just cleared another hurdle," New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said. "This agreement is a major breakthrough that will help with traffic congestion, reduce pollution, attract new businesses and revitalize our rural economies along the Rio Grande Corridor and beyond. The additional tracks from Santa Fe to the Colorado border are also a great, low-cost investment in a fast-growing state."

BNSF indicated that the majority of the proceeds from the sale will be received in 2006. In the fourth quarter of 2005, BNSF will record a non-cash loss of $75 million, or approximately 12 cents per share. BNSF expects to record a gain of approximately $25 million, or 4 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2006.

"We welcome this opportunity to assist Governor Richardson and the State and citizens of New Mexico in their efforts to build a commuter line," said Matthew K. Rose, BNSF Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "BNSF is committed to partnering with local and state agencies to serve the best interests of private and public constituencies when it comes to increasing the use of rail for both passenger and goods movement."

— PRNewswire-First Call