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Rail News: BNSF Railway

BNSF cranks up volume, caps off capital plan as year draws to a close


BNSF Railway Co. is moving strong volumes throughout its network during the late portion of the peak season, according to a customer letter issued by the Class I Dec. 21.

Volume in the week ending Dec. 15 increased slightly over the prior week and represented a new year-to-date high at nearly 216,500 units, BNSF officials wrote in the letter. Year-to-date volume through that week totaling 10.3 million carloads and intermodal units exceeded the full-year volume in each of the past 11 years, they said.

"With robust traffic moving into/out of intermodal facilities as well as several rail yards, particularly our Tulsa and Kansas City terminals, [our] teams remain focused on relieving congestion and reducing dwell times," BNSF officials wrote. "We are also currently addressing capacity challenges in the Houston complex and portions of the Gulf Coast involving plastics shipments. We are working closely with impacted customers as we evaluate and implement service changes as necessary to help improve train flows."

Meanwhile, the engineering department completed the 2018 capital plan in mid-December after placing into service nearly five miles of new double track between Washougal and Mt. Pleasant, Washington, and opening a new connection in Dobbin, Texas.

Other major expansion projects completed this year included about 10 miles of new triple track on the Southern Transcon route between Belen and Dalies, New Mexico, and more than five miles of new fourth mainline in Amarillo, Texas.

Capital gangs this year replaced more than 500 miles of rail, installed 2.8 million ties and surfaced nearly 5,000 miles of track.

"The railroad remains in the best condition it has ever been," BNSF officials wrote. "We look forward to sharing the details of our 2019 capital plan in January."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/28/2018