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BNSF Railway Co. has released highlights of its 2015 capital spending projects pegged for three more states: Illinois, North Dakota and Texas.The Class I plans to spend $339 million in Illinois on various track maintenance and capacity expansion projects. The work includes:• starting the grading for the construction of two double-track segments totaling 12 miles from Burk to Savanna and Aurora to Sugar Grove that are slated for completion in 2016;• installing Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) signaling systems in the Aurora and Beardstown subdivisions;• extending sidings in Atwater, Concord, Jacksonville, Stewart and Vermont;• replacing a bridge in Metropolis;• extending tracks in Zearing to facilitate increasing interchange volumes;• performing additional work related to the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency program, such as connecting the Chicago Subdivision at Western Avenue with the Chillicothe Subdivision at Ash Street; and• expanding rail-car loading/unloading tracks, support tracks and parking at the Logistics Park Chicago intermodal and automotive facilities in Elwood, and the Willow Springs Intermodal Facility. Track maintenance work in Illinois involves surfacing and/or undercutting 1,099 miles of track, replacing 52 miles of rail and 93,000 ties, and completing signal upgrades for positive train control (PTC) implementation.For projects in North Dakota, BNSF has budgeted $326 million. Significants projects include the continuation of double-track construction in the Glasgow subdivision between Minot and Williston totaling 37 miles; the installation of CTC in the Devils Lake, Dickinson, Hillsboro and Jamestown subdivisions; upgrades to a connection track between the Hillsboro and Devils Lake subdivisions; a siding extension in the Dickinson Subdivision between Mandan N.D., and Glendive Mont.; and the expansion of capacity and classification capability at Dickinson Yard to accommodate expected growth in single-car volumes.Track maintenance work in the state calls for surfacing and/or undercutting 1,164 miles of track, replacing 97 miles of rail and 393,500 ties, and completing signal upgrades for PTC."This year’s planned expansion and maintenance projects will help give BNSF the capacity flexibility it needs to support our customers’ growing demands and connect North Dakota products to key markets, as well as benefit Amtrak’s Empire Builder, which operates on our network in the state," said Tom Albanese, BNSF's general manager of operations-Twin Cities Division, in a press release.The $326 million budget follows $400 million BNSF spent last year in North Dakota on capex projects that helped expand rail capacity for shippers, and replace and maintain network infrastructure, said U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) in a statement."We have been working to maintain and improve our infrastructure, especially our railways, to meet the needs of our growing state," he said. "BNSF’s $326 million investment will help to relieve backlogs now, but also plan for the continued growth of our economy."BNSF also announced plans to spend $223 million on capex projects in Texas. Major work involves constructing a southeast quadrant connection at Tenaha to facilitate the use of the Longview Subdivision for southbound trains heading to East Texas and Louisiana; building a new siding in Lumberton featuring CTC; beginning a two-year project to replace the Trinity River bridge in Fort Worth; and expanding parking and support tracks at the Alliance intermodal and automotive facilities in Haslet, and the Amarillo Automotive Facility.Track maintenance work includes 2,043 miles of surfacing and/or undercutting work, the replacement of 62 miles of rail and 245,500 ties, and signal upgrades for PTC.BNSF previously released highlights of capital work planned in Minnesota, Nebraska and Washington. All the work is part of the railroad's record-setting $6 billion capex budget for 2015. For more insight and information on BNSF's capital spending program, read this cover story from Progressive Railroading's February issue.
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