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Friday, August 16, 2013    

BNSF budgets $335 million for capex projects in Montana, North Dakota


BNSF Railway Co. yesterday announced the portions of its record $4.3 billion capital spending budget for 2013 that are allocated for key projects in two states.

The Class I plans to spend $220 million to improve and expand rail capacity in North Dakota. Planned work includes constructing three sidings west of Minot near Manitou, Tioga, and Palermo, extending sidings near Glen Ullin and Hillsboro, and improving six sidings between Minot and Grand Forks.

The railroad also plans to raise 10 miles of track over Devils Lake by one to five feet to keep track above any rising water; upgrade a line between Berthold and Northgate on the Canadian border; install Centralized Traffic Control signal systems on three sidings near Devils Lake, Hillsboro and Towner; construct a new double crossover track east of Williston; and lengthen existing tracks or add new tracks at yards in Mandan, Minot and Williston.

In addition, BNSF expects to surface and/or undercut about 1,900 miles of track, replace 315 miles of rail and 415,000 ties, and complete signal upgrades for positive train control (PTC) implementation.

The railroad also announced it will spend $115 million on maintenance and rail capacity expansion projects in Montana. Planned work includes constructing three new unit-train staging tracks about three miles east of Glasgow; adding machine vision technology at Miles City to help detect damaged equipment; surfacing more than 2,300 miles of track and performing undercutting work; replacing nearly 100 miles of rail and about 310,000 ties; and completing signal upgrades for PTC.

"We are focused on investing to meet our customers' expectations and on expanding capacity where growth is occurring," said BNSF Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Matt Rose in a press release. "Given the importance of a low cost supply chain to the U.S. economy, our privately funded rail infrastructure is well positioned to help [various] industries compete in global markets."

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