BNSF Plans $2.99 Billion Capital Investment in 2021

A BNSF locomotive (GE ES44C4) leading a freight train is stopped in Atlanta on Nov. 28, 2014. (Photo by Todd DeFeo)

BNSF Railway Co. plans to make a $2.99 billion capital investment in 2021, the company said.

The capital plan focuses on projects that support the company’s growth and efficiency objectives while maintaining a reliable and robust railroad, officials said.

“Every year through our capital plan, we work to ensure we are able to continue to operate a safe and efficient rail network, provide our customers with the level of service they have come to expect from BNSF as well as position ourselves for future growth opportunities,” Katie Farmer, president and CEO, said in a news release.

The largest component of this year’s capital plan will be to replace and maintain BNSF’s core network and related assets, much like last year’s $3.08 billion capital program. Maintaining the railroad results in fewer unscheduled service outages that can slow down the rail network and reduce capacity.

The maintenance component of this year’s plan is $2.41 billion.

The projects included in this part of the program mostly entail replacing and upgrading rail and track infrastructure like ballast and rail ties (which are the main components for the tracks on which BNSF trains operate) and maintaining its rolling stock. It will include nearly 11,000 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work and the replacement of 428 miles of rail and approximately 2.6 million rail ties.

Approximately $400 million of this year’s capital plan will be for expansion and efficiency projects. On its Southern Transcon route between the West Coast and the Midwest, BNSF will continue a multi-year effort to add several new double-track segments in eastern Kansas.

Once completed, BNSF will have 50 miles of additional main track to support traffic growth. In the Pacific Northwest, BNSF will continue a multi-year bridge project near Sandpoint, Idaho, to increase train capacity. About $180 million of this year’s capital plan is for freight cars and other equipment acquisitions.

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