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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

BNSF loads fewer PRB coal trains last month

Despite one record-setting day and overall gains in the month’s latter half, BNSF Railway Co. averaged fewer coal train loadings in the Powder River Basin (PRB) in July compared with last year.

Average daily loadings for the PRB, which includes Wyoming and Montana mines, stood at 49 trains in July vs. 50.8 trains in July 2006. The railroad lost an average of 5.1 train loading opportunities per day because of mine production issues, BNSF said.

However, the Class I did set a one-day loading record of 78 trains July 29 on the joint line it shares with Union Pacific Railroad.

Through 2007’s first seven months, BNSF’s daily PRB loadings averaged 49.2 trains, a slight gain compared with a 49.1-train average during the same 2006 period.

Systemwide through seven months, BNSF loaded a total of 165.8 million tons of coal, up 1 percent compared with last year.

Meanwhile, BNSF last month opened 14 miles of third main track on the joint line. On July 17, the railroad placed the line in service under a “superhighway” concept, meaning the track is used before universal crossovers and signaling are installed.

The triple track is part of 40 miles of third main track BNSF is building in the PRB this year. When the projects are completed, more than 117 miles of lines in the Orin Subdivision will feature triple track. Later this year, BNSF also will construct 21 miles of fourth main track in the subdivision.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/7/2007