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Rail News: Communication and Signal

BNSF on target to close more than 400 crossings by year end

With 246 grade crossings eliminated through July, Burlington Northern Santa Fe is on track to reach its 2003 goal of 420 crossing closures.

If the Class I achieves that goal, the railroad will surpass 2,000 closed crossings in four years — 6 percent of BNSF's total crossings.

Since 2000, the railroad has been conducting corridor studies to identify redundant branch lines and crossings. During each study, a BNSF team comprising engineering, field safety and operational support personnel examines about 50 crossings, determines each crossing's owner (if private) and alternate access, and consults with landowners and local authorities. Team members then identify crossings to be closed or consolidated.

"We're in the fourth year of our crossing closure program and we're continuing to see excellent results," said Lyn Hartley, BNSF director of public projects, in a prepared statement.

BNSF-compiled statistics show that 10 percent to 25 percent of the Class I's redundant crossings could be eliminated. The railroad's 32,500-mile network includes more than 31,300 crossings.

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More News from 8/5/2003