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BNSF Railway Co. today highlighted $1 billion in capital projects planned in five states along its Northern Corridor. The projects are part of the Class I's record-setting $5 billion capital spending budget for 2014.Situated between the Pacific Northwest and Chicago, the Northern Corridor runs through parts of Washington, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois. Some of this year's corridor projects are designed to help expand capacity and improve traffic flow for all freight and passenger trains that use certain routes."Our capital investments along the Northern Corridor are critical to expanding our capacity to support the region’s rapidly growing economy, improving our ability to meet our customers’ expectations and ensuring our railroad remains the safest mode of ground transportation for freight," said BNSF President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Ice in a press release. BNSF plans to spend about $400 million in North Dakota to expand capacity, improve infrastructure and continue implementing positive train control (PTC). Expansion projects include the completion of a second mainline track between Minot, N.D., and Glasgow, Mont.; construction of new sidings between Fargo and Grand Forks, Fargo and Minot, Bismarck and Glendive, and Minot and Grand Forks; and upgrades to a Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) signal system between Bismarck and Fargo. Maintenance projects include surfacing and undercutting more than 930 miles of track, and replacing about 110 miles of rail and more than 330,000 ties.In Washington, the Class I plans to spend about $235 million to expand capacity, improve infrastructure and continue implementing PTC. Expansion projects call for constructing a second mainline at various locations between Cheney and Mesa; building two new staging tracks near Everett; installing a power switch in Anacortes; and improving property to enhance operations at intermodal facilities in Spokane and south Seattle. Maintenance projects include surfacing and undercutting more than 1,200 miles of track, and replacing about 60 miles of rail and more than 113,000 ties.Montana projects — which also will address capacity, infrastructure improvements and PTC installation — are projected to cost $160 million. Expansion projects include extending track lengths at yards in Glendive and Forsyth; constructing a siding between Marsh and Terry; extending sidings in Beaver Hill, Blatchford, Hodges, Hysham and Rosebud; and upgrading a signal system to CTC and extending a siding in Terry. Maintenance projects call for surfacing and undercutting more than 900 miles of track, and replacing about 60 miles of rail and more than 145,000 ties.Meanwhile, BNSF plans to spend about $150 million in Illinois for capacity expansion efforts, infrastructure improvements and PTC work. Expansion projects include the expansion of parking areas at the Willow Springs Intermodal Facility in Hodgkins and Logistics Park Chicago automotive facility in Elwood, and the construction of a siding between Barstow and Hillsdale. Maintenance projects calls for surfacing and undercutting more than 1,500 miles of track, and replacing about 36 miles of rail and more than 185,000 ties.In Minnesota, BNSF has budgeted $120 million to expand capacity, maintain its network and perform PTC work. Expansion projects include parking expansions at the St. Paul Intermodal Facility, extending track in Gunn, and building a siding and new interchange tracks close to the Canadian border near St. Vincent. Maintenance projects call for surfacing and undercutting more than 600 miles of track, and replacing about 72 miles of rail and more than 340,000 ties.In addition to the Northern Corridor capital investments, BNSF plans to spend about $30 million in South Dakota, $50 million in Wisconsin and $10 million in Idaho to expand capacity or improve infrastructure.To learn more about BNSF's planned maintenance-of-way work this year — as well as work planned by other Class Is, regionals, short lines and passenger railroads — follow this link to access the 2014 MOW Spending Report in Progressive Railroading's April issue.
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