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Rail News: Communication and Signal

Two thousand and counting: BNSF's crossing closure program marks milestone


Last month, Burlington Northern Santa Fe closed its 2,000th grade crossing since beginning a program in 2000 under which the Class I has closed 6 percent of its crossings.

"There's no question that eliminating an unnecessary or redundant crossing can improve safety," said Greg Stengem, BNSF vice president of safety, training and operations support, in a prepared statement. "With every grade
crossing eliminated, we're also able to reduce the number of train whistles that must be sounded in a community."

BNSF still has about 30,000 crossings located throughout its 32,500-mile network. The railroad plans to close more than 400 crossings this year after closing 425 in 2003.

Closures are part of BNSF's crossing safety program, which includes educating communities, implementing emerging technologies, resurfacing crossings, controlling vegetation, installing warning devices, and inspecting and maintaining track and signals.

Between 2000 and 2003, BNSF reduced crossing collisions 26 percent from 568 to 422, according to Federal Railroad Administration statistics.

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More News from 1/20/2004