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Part 2 : Large freight railroads ramp up budgets, workloadsRail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
Large freight railroads ramp up budgets, workloads
2015 MOW Plans
(By Budget Amount)
2015 MOW budget: Record total capital budget of $6 billion includes $2.9 billion to replace and maintain core network and related assets.
2014 MOW budget: Previous record total capital budget of $5.5 billion included $2.3 billion to replace and maintain core network and related assets.
Reasons for budget increase: The largest component of the 2015 capital plan will be $2.9 billion for the renewal of assets and maintenance, such as replacing and upgrading rails, ties and ballast that are due for updating. Track replacement projects typically make up the largest percentage of BNSF's annual capital projects and the railroad considers them important to ensure it can optimize its network for ideal train speeds for a wide range of commodities.
Rail: Replace or install 1,079 miles of track, all continuous-welded rail (CWR).
Double track: Construct 129 miles of double track.
Double-track projects: Build 2 segments between Bradshaw and Aurora, Neb., totaling 18 miles; build segments from Big Lake to Becker, and from Little Falls to Darling, Minn., totaling 13 miles, construct a 2-mile segment from Minneapolis Junction to St. Anthony, Minn., and begin grading work for a double-track project from Randall to Lincoln, Minn., to be completed in 2016; build nearly 7 miles of double track from Ferndale to Custer, Wash.; begin grading work for 2 segments from Burk to Savanna and Aurora to Sugar Grove, Ill., totaling 12 miles to be completed in 2016; construct 37 miles of double track between Minot and Williston, N.D.; build 4 miles of double track through La Crosse, Wis.; begin grading work for 4 miles of double track to be completed in Glasgow Subdivision in Montana in 2016; construct 2 segments between Noel and Avard, Okla., and Loder and milepost 323 in Oklahoma totaling 18 miles; build 11 miles of double track from Bonita to Hillsdale, Kan.; and construct 3 miles of double track and a siding as part of the Tehachapi Rail Improvement Project along the Mojave Subdivision in California.*
Sidings: Complete 10 new sidings.
Siding projects: Build a new siding along the Noyes Subdivision in Minnesota; extend siding between Mandan, N.D., and Glendive, Mont.; build a siding in Lumberton, Texas; construct 2 sidings between Elsberry and Ashburn and milepost marker 94 in Missouri, and extend a siding in Gibbs, Mo.; and build a siding west of Commerce City, Colo., and extend sidings in Bijou, Crest, Hudson, Messex, Roggen and Tonville, Colo.*
Grinding/surfacing: Grind and/or surface 21,600 miles of track.
Ties: Install or replace 3.8 million ties (includes maintenance and expansion), including 3.4 million wood and 400,000 concrete ties.
Ballast: Install 5.7 million net tons.
Bridge work: A total of 270 bridge projects are planned this year, including the reconstruction of the bridge over the Trinity River in Fort Worth, Texas; the continuation of major work to the moveable bridge that crosses Bayou Des Allmends in Des Allmends, La.; the final phase of a 3-phased project on a bridge over the Serpentine River near Vancouver, British Columbia; and the first phase of construction on a bridge over the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tenn. (other phases of the project are under design).
*Information from press releases issued in February
BNSF Eyes A Lot Of MOW Work In IllinoisBNSF Railway Co. plans to spend the biggest chunk of its track maintenance and capacity expansion budget — $339 million — on projects slated in
Illinois this year. The projects aimed at addressing capacity include starting the grading work for the construction of two double-track segments from Burk to Savanna and Aurora to Sugar Grove. Totaling 12 miles, the segments are scheduled for completion in 2016.
In addition, BNSF plans to install centralized traffic control signaling in the Aurora and Beardstown subdivisions to improve train flows and operating efficiency; extend sidings in five locations; extend tracks in Zearing; improve a bridge in Metropolis; connect the Chicago Subdivision at Western Avenue with the Chillicothe Subdivision at Ash Street for the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program; and expand rail-car loading/unloading tracks, support tracks and parking facilities at intermodal and automotive facilities at Logistics Park-Chicago in Elwood and the Willow Springs Intermodal Facility.
Planned maintenance work in Illinois calls for undercutting and/or surfacing 1,099 miles of track, replacing 52 miles of rail and 93,000 ties, and upgrading signals for positive train control implementation.
The next-highest portion of BNSF's planned track maintenance and capacity expansion spending by state is $326 million, which is the same total budgeted for work both in North Dakota and Minnesota, primarily because of growing crude-oil and grain traffic.
2015 Engineering Plan: $1.75 billion (infrastructure replacement), also about $650 million for capacity work/commercial facilities.*
2014 Engineering Plan: $1.73 billion (infrastructure replacement), also about $680 million for capacity work/commercial facilities.**
Rail: Replace/install 677 miles of rail.*
Double track: 2014-15 capacity and commercial facility expansion projects include installation of double track and sidings at Glidden/Eagle Pass.*
Sidings: 2014-15 capacity and commercial facility expansion projects include T&P and PNW siding extensions.*
Ties: Install or replace 4.38 million ties.*
Bridge work: A total of 8.1 miles of bridge/deck replacements.*
Facilities: 2014-15 capacity and commercial facility expansion projects include frac sand origination capacity, intermodal and auto facility expansions, and SIT yards in Livonia, La., and Angleton, Texas. Also, advance plans to build classification yard in Hearne, Texas, that would be the largest hump yard in UP's system. In design stage, the yard would include 70 to 80 bowl tracks with dual hump leads, receiving and departure tracks to handle 8,500-foot trains, locomotive and car repair facilities, about 12 miles of new main track and 120 miles of track in total, as well as 300 turnouts and 150 retarders.*
*Information from UP's presentation Jan. 9 at the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association Inc.'s (NRC) annual conference
** Budget figure from UP's presentation at the NRC's 2014 conference
2015 MOW budget: $1.25 billion basic capital, mixed currency
2014 MOW budget: $1.14 billion basic capital, mixed currency
Reason for budget increase: Budget is consistent with the prior year. Will focus on asset utilization and replacement as required.
Rail: Replace 636 track miles, including 498 track miles of new rail and 138 track miles of partially worn rail.
Double track: Construct double track at 2 locations on the Rivers Subdivision in Manitoba, $60 million, complete in fall. The project at the first location will connect 2 adjacent sidings to provide 9.7 miles of new double track and the project at the second location will extend an existing double-track section to provide an additional 10 miles of double track. Also, complete the Steelton Hill double-track project on the Superior Subdivision in Minnesota, $50 million.
Special/unusual trackwork project: A continuation of a capacity improvement program with select sections of double track, and new and extended sidings to provide 12,000 feet of clear capacity on a mainline.
Sidings: All new and extended sidings are being built to provide 12,000 feet of clear capacity at various locations on a mainline corridor, primarily from Edmonton, Alberta, through Chicago.
Grinding/surfacing: Grind 19,500 pass miles and surface 9,500 miles.
Ties: Replace or install 1.98 million wood and 68,000 concrete ties.
Ballast: Install 1.6 million metric tons.
Bridge work: Total budget of $114 million for various basic capital bridge projects; includes more than $5.5 million to continue rehabbing the Quebec Bridge in 2015. CN plans to spend about $76 million over 10 years to improve the bridge.*
Facilities: Make operational enhancements at Symington yard in Manitoba, and revise track and add classification capacity at Winnipeg, Manitoba, facility.
*Information from press release issued March 23
2015 MOW budgets: $945 million capital; $635 million expense
2014 MOW budgets: $935 million capital; $603 million expense
Reason for budget increase: An 11 percent increase in capital rail replacement in 2015. Cross, ballast and bridge ties are flat year over year.
Rail: Replace 557 track miles, all CWR.
Double track: Extend second main 1.3 miles in Georgetown, Ky., started in fall 2014 and complete by 2015's end.
Sidings: Extend Brunk Siding 2,400 feet in Goshen, Ind.; build 7,000-foot siding in Tasker, Del.; extend siding 5,400 feet in Glade Spring, Va.; extend siding 6,168 feet in Shinrock, Ohio; and convert 7,000-foot industrial track to siding in Reddick, Ill.
Grinding/surfacing: Grind 18,000 pass miles.
Ties: Replace or install 2.6 million new and relay wood ties.
Ballast: Install 2.6 million tons.
Bridge work: Rebuild or repair 96 bridges, including trestle, culverts and spans. Budget of $88 million for new and rehab projects, including $17.8 million for continued rehab of 12 bridges at 51st Street intermodal facility in Chicago (complete by year's end) and $8.8 million for ongoing Portageville Bridge replacement (complete by 2016's end). Other multi-year projects include trestle replacement in Boligee, Ala.; replacement of bridge over Federal Street in Pittsburgh; replacement of span over Ripley Island Road in Afton, Tenn.; and replacement of double-track spans on bridge in Ingleside, W. Va.
Facilities: Build 4 pad tracks, 4 storage tracks, 400 parking spaces and a second eastbound lead at the Rutherford, Pa., intermodal facility; expand yard in Conway, Pa., including an extension of tracks and reconfigurations; and build 2 new yard tracks at Kankakee, Ill., yard. The 2015 capex plan also calls for expanding intermodal facilities in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Fla., and Columbus, Ohio.
2015 MOW budget: $860 million
2014 MOW budget: $760 million
Reason for budget increase: The Class I continues to increase investments in infrastructure maintenance and upgrades to ensure it can deliver improved, safe and reliable service.
Rail: Replace or install 510 track miles, all CWR.
Double track: Build about 2.4 miles of new main track at Selkirk Yard in the Albany Division, $11 million; construct 2 miles of double track in River Subdivision in the Albany Division, $8 million; and build 2 third main tracks in the RF&P Subdivision in the Baltimore Division totaling more than 14 miles.
Special/unusual trackwork project: Undercut track at L'Enfant Plaza in the Baltimore Division.
Sidings: Build a 10,000-foot siding in the Monon Subdivision in Chicago Division, $11.5 million; construct a 10,000-foot siding in the Pittsburgh Subdivision in Baltimore Division, $10.2 million; build a 10,000-foot siding in the Montreal Subdivision in Albany Division, $8.3 million; and construct a run-around track in Ohio River Subdivision in Huntington Division, $3.7 million.
Grinding/surfacing: Grind 19,000 pass miles and surface 5,211 miles, including tie work.
Ties: Replace or install 3.25 million wood, 10,000 composite and 2,700 concrete ties.
Ballast: Install 3 million tons.
Bridge work: Total budget of $75 million, includes deck conversion, bridge replacements, major steel repair, moveable bridge reliability upgrades, culvert replacements and drainage improvements. Projects include the replacement of a deck-pinned truss bridge in Northbranch, W. Va.; replacement of a 230-foot steel truss bridge crossing both Amtrak and Norfolk Southern Railway in Baltimore; and replacement of 2 deck trusses and reinforcement of 2 piers in Philadelphia.
Facilities: Total budget of $6 million for electrical distribution and highmast lighting cap replacement ($2.4 million); lease renewals ($1.5 million); new and replacement modular and small-footprint buildings ($800,000); capital roof maintenance and replacement ($700,000); and capital HVAC maintenance and replacement ($600,000).
2015 MOW budget: About $750 million (basic replacement capital for track and roadway)
2014 MOW budget: About $700 million (basic replacement capital for track and roadway)
Reasons for budget increase: A continued focus on increasing network speed and safety initiatives; an investment to match changing traffic patterns; and capacity investment in long sidings as part of a long-train strategy.
Rail: Replace or install 540 track miles, all CWR. Includes 290 miles of new 136-pound CWR, 170 miles of relay rail and 80 miles of new 115-pound CWR.
Special/unusual trackwork projects: Additional subgrade and track armoring for enhanced flood protection in Western Canada and the U.S. Midwest; rail weight upgrades on selected Canadian Prairie branch lines; and system-wide yard turnout upgrades.
Sidings: Plan to add or upgrade 34 sidings this year.
Grinding/surfacing: Grind 14,700 pass miles for production grinders and 7,300 events for switch and crossing grinders; and surface about 2,000 miles.
Ties: Replace or install 1.25 million ties, all hardwood.
Ballast: Install 280,000 tons.
Bridge work: Plan to work on 94 bridge structures, including 22 complete replacements, 13 span replacements and 59 other improvements such as pier or abutment work.
Facilities: Upgrade St. Paul Yard (capacity motivated project); upgrade track and turnouts at Port Coquitlam Yard (capacity motivated project); and upgrade Alyth Yard in Calgary, Alberta.
2015 MOW budget: About 10 percent of annual revenue is targeted for roadway capital maintenance in the U.S. and Mexico.
2014 MOW budget: About 10 percent of annual revenue was invested in roadway capital maintenance in the U.S. and Mexico.
Rail: Replace 129 track miles of rail in the U.S. and Mexico. Includes 10,000 track feet of new main at Knoche Yard in Kansas City, Mo.*
Major rail projects: Continue upgrades on the B-Line between Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico; after the project is completed in 2016, the entire 152-mile line will have been upgraded to 136-pound rail and concrete ties.* Also, replace about 6 miles of rail, install 80,000 ties, enhance 177 crossings and perform structural steel improvements at the International Bridge in the Laredo Subdivision between Laredo and Corpus Christi, Texas, $18 million. Work began in late February and was slated for completion in mid-April.**
Sidings: Construct several new sidings and R&D tracks, and extend several sidings. Includes Vandervoort siding extension in Arkansas; 8,500 track feet of new R&D track and customs inspection facility in Laredo, Texas; and 8,500 track feet of new storage track and crossovers at Kansas City intermodal facility.*
Ties: Install about 845,000 crossties in the U.S. and Mexico, both wood and concrete.
Major tie work: Major tie programs planned on the Kansas City-to-East St. Louis line and in the Laredo Subdivision.*
Facilities: Open a new intermodal facility in Wylie, Texas. The first phase — including container stacking and parking stalls, two 5,000-foot strip tracks and 50 acres of paving — is scheduled for completion in July.*
*Information from President and CEO David Starling's "State of the Railroad" letter released on Dec. 19, 2014
** Information from press release issued March 17
2015 MOW budget: $122.1 million (U.S. dollars)
2014 MOW budget: $147.3 million (U.S. dollars)
Reason for budget decrease: Priority in budget for 2015 is focused on the acquisition of locomotives and rail cars and keeping the same level of spending on roadway maintenance.
Rail: Replace about 89.7 miles of rail with 115-pound (41.3 miles) and 136-pound (48.5 miles) rail.
Double track: Build 2.75 miles of double track in Celaya, Guanajuato, $4.9 million, started in February.
Special/unusual trackwork project: Increase the clearance gauge of 30 tunnels in Tepic, Nayarit, increasing an average of 20 to 21 feet of clearance in order to allow more efficiency in intermodal freight; 2015 budget of $14.4 million.
Sidings: Build 1.7-mile siding in Sabinas, Coahuila, and a 1-mile siding in Agua Prieta, Sonora.
Grinding/surfacing: Total of 1,988 miles.
Ties: Install or replace 358,000 concrete and 178,000 wood ties.
Ballast: Install 1,014,000 tons.
Bridge work: Rehab bridges in Ciudad Frontera, Coahuila ($1.2 million), Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas ($1 million), Monterrey, Nuevo León ($600,000) and Tepic, Nayarit ($430,000).
Facilities: Build a yard with 14 miles of track at Rio Escondido facility in Monterrey.
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