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9/25/2009


Rail News: Rail Industry Trends
BNSF begins to replace Iowa bridge, CN caps off Tennessee yard reconstruction



Earlier this week, BNSF Railway Co. announced it’s launching a major bridge replacement project in Iowa while CN announced yesterday it completed a major classification yard reconfiguration project in Tennessee.

CN’s $100 million, multi-year project at the Memphis facility — the Class I’s second-largest classification yard — called for essentially building a new yard on top of an existing one built in the early 1900s, rebuilding old locomotive repair and car shops, and upgrading a locomotive fueling station. The yard now can handle more than 3,100 freight cars and more than 35 trains daily, and features 45 classification tracks and 12 receiving and departure tracks ranging in length from 5,000 to 10,000 feet.

At a ceremony held yesterday at the yard, CN announced it will rename the facility Harrison Yard in honor of President and Chief Executive E. Hunter Harrison, who will retire at year’s end and be succeeded by Executive Vice President Claude Mongeau.

“This project transformed an aged, inefficient rail yard into a state-of-the-art, effectively designed major terminal,” said Mongeau in a prepared statement. “Today’s yard can handle nearly double the traffic the old facility could in a 24-hour period."

Meanwhile, prime contractor Ames Construction Inc. has begun to replace BNSF’s 118-year-old swing span over the Mississippi River in Burlington, Iowa, with a modern lift span designed to increase river channel width from 150 feet to more than 307 feet. The $70 million project is scheduled for completion in summer 2011.

Lift span construction is being partially financed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In addition, the state of Iowa is seeking a $25 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant for the Burlington Bridge project. The bridge is used by about 30 trains daily, including two Amtrak trains.

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