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BNSF Railway Co. will spend $3.3 billion on capital expenses this year, the Class I announced yesterday.The investment is the same amount as last year's capital budget, according to a BNSF press release.This year's capital plan reflects BNSF's continued focus on maintaining its network as well as expansion projects aimed at meeting customer demands, BNSF officials said."Every year we work to ensure our capital investment plan enables us to continue to operate a safe and reliable rail network as well as anticipates the needs of our customers," said President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Ice. "Our attention to safety and service, along with our investments in our network, provide a solid foundation for our ability to grow with our customers today and in the future."The maintenance component this year is projected to be $2.4 billion. Projects primarily will focus on replacing and upgrading rail, ties and ballast; and maintaining rolling stock. The plan includes 13,000 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work, as well as the replacement of more than 500 miles of rail and nearly 3 million ties."Our efforts to normalize our maintenance investment have positioned us to replace the right assets at the right locations at the right time," Ice said. "This allows our maintenance investment to be at similar levels year to year."About $500 million of the 2018 capital plan will be designated for expansion and efficiency projects, the majority of which will focus on key growth areas along the Class I's southern and northern transcontinental routes, which connect Southern California with Chicago and the Pacific Northwest to the upper Midwest, respectively. Additionally, BNSF has allocated $100 million for positive train control, as the Class I moves toward meeting the federally mandated Dec. 31 implementation deadline. BNSF is the only Class I freight railroad to have completed the installation of PTC on all its federally mandated subdivisions and is currently running hundreds of trains daily with PTC as it tests revenue service across its mandated territory, company officials said.Another element of the 2018 capex plan calls for $300 million for freight cars and other equipment acquisitions.
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