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Rail News: BNSF Railway

BNSF budgets nearly $3 billion for 2021 capex


BNSF Railway Co. yesterday announced it will spend $2.99 billion on its capital plan this year, down from $3.08 billion in 2020.

Much like last year's plan, this year's capital expenditures will focus on replacing and maintaining the Class I's core network and related assets.

"Every year through our capital plan, we work to ensure we are able to continue to operate a safe and efficient rail network, provide our customers with the level of service they have come to expect from BNSF as well as position ourselves for future growth opportunities," said BNSF President and Chief Executive Officer Katie Farmer in a press release.

Maintenance projects, which are budgeted at $2.41 billion in 2021, mostly entail replacing and upgrading rail, replacing ballast and ties, and maintaining rolling stock. The plan calls for 11,000 miles of track surfacing or undercutting work, and the replacement of 428 miles of rail and 2.6 million ties.

About $400 million will be spent on expansion and efficiency projects. On BNSF's Southern Transcon route between the West Coast and Midwest, the railroad will continue a multiyear effort to add several segments of new double track in eastern Kansas. Once completed, BNSF will have 50 miles of additional main track to support traffic growth, company officials said.

In addition, in the Pacific Northwest, BNSF will continue a multiyear bridge project near Sandpoint, Idaho, to increase train capacity.

About $180 million of the 2021 capital plan will be spent on freight cars and other equipment acquisitions.