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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

BNSF readies mainline for peak season traffic boom

Burlington Northern Santa Fe recently increased its Los Angeles-to-Chicago Transcon line capacity — just in time for the pre-holiday peak shipping season. On Oct. 29, the Class I opened a 14-mile double-track section on the Panhandle Subdivision between Coburn and Clear Creek, Texas.

The line's capacity will increase even more in mid-November — the target opening of a 16-mile double-track section between Lora and Canadian, Texas. The sections are the second and third phases of a three-phased project designed to increase the railroad's intermodal capacity; in July, BNSF previously opened a 13.5-mile Lora-to-Codman double-track segment.

"What is so significant about the project is the accelerated schedule — a large project that might normally require a year or more to design, engineer, permit and build was accomplished in about seven months," said Robert Boileau, BNSF assistant vice president of engineering services, in a prepared statement.

During the third quarter, BNSF's intermodal revenue increased about 8 percent compared with the same 2002 period and the railroad expects business to boom even more in the fourth quarter. During the peak season, the Class I plans to operate 75 daily trains in the subdivision compared with 60 daily trains off-peak. The double track is designed to relieve bottlenecks along the Transcon's Texas portion.

In the second quarter, BNSF also expects to complete a 14-mile double-track section between Curtis and Woodward, Okla.

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More News from 11/4/2003