Progressive Railroading

Newsletter Sign Up
Stay updated on news, articles and information for the rail industry

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

View Current Digital Issue »


Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway

April 2008

Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway

MOW '08 — Class Is


Union Pacific Railroad

2008 MOW budget: $1.6 billion

2008 capacity budget: $840 million

2007 MOW budget: $1.6 billion

2007 capacity budget: $421 million

Reason for slight difference: MOW allocation is the same, but capacity budget increased due to Sunset Corridor expansion.

Rail: Install or replace 726 miles of continuous-welded rail (CWR), 235 miles of curved rail and 140 miles of rail associated with concrete tie projects.

Double/triple track: Continue Sunset Route double-track project in various New Mexico and Arizona locations; add fourth main on Joint Line at Logan Hill, add third main between Caballo and Reno Junctions, and add third main between Shawnee and Jireh in southern Powder River Basin; add double mainline in Los Angeles Basin; and increase double main track on selected Kansas and Nebraska routes.

Sidings: Construct two sidings in Texas, one in Oregon and one in Illinois, each built to a minimum length of 9,000 feet.

Ties: Replace or install 3.74 million wood, 369,000 concrete and 128,000 composite ties.

Ballast: Install 6.2 million tons.

Grinding/surfacing: Grind 20,000 miles; surface 8,000 miles.

Bridge work: Overall budget of $128 million, of which $18 million is allocated to complete the three-year Kate Shelley Bridge project near Boone, Iowa (double main rebuild, total cost: $43 million). Continue to upgrade wooden bridges to concrete/steel; replace about 11,000 feet of bridges.

Focus of MOW program: Establish tie maintenance cycles; enact terminal maintenance strategies; achieve progress on bridge renewal needs; reduce infrastructure risk and slow order delays.

BNSF Railway Co.

2008 MOW budget: $1.4 billion

2007 MOW budget: $1.2 billion

Reason for increase: Increasing traffic levels.

Rail: Replace or install 688 track miles with CWR; replace 90 miles of secondhand rail.

Double track: Construct following segments: 8.8 miles in Ravenna Subdivision; 7.5 miles in Canyon & Orin Subs; 6.7 miles in Galveston Sub; 3.8 miles in Scenic Sub; and 1.6 to 0.3 mile sections in Scenic and Staples Subs.

Triple track: Construct 14.8 miles in Cajon Sub; 1.8 miles in Seattle Sub; and 1.3 miles in San Bernardino Sub.

Quadruple track: Construct 21.1 miles of fourth mainline in Orin Subdivision.

Sidings: Build sidings in Surrey, B.C. (2 miles), New Jagger, Ala. (1.9 miles), Olive Branch, Miss. (1.7 miles) and Racine, Mo. (0.9 miles); relocate mainline and 1.9 mile siding in Blaine, Wash.; and extend sidings in Everett, Wash. (1 mile) and Mt. Vernon, Wash. (0.8 miles). Total budget: $38.8 million.

Ties: Replace or install 2.9 million wood and 22,000 concrete ties.

Ballast: Install 4.1 million tons.

Grinding/surfacing: Grind 30,000 pass miles.

Bridge work: Total $87.6 million budget, includes 104 rebuilds ($45.3 million); major replacements/upgrades ($20 million); 40 open-deck tie replacements ($10 million); miscellaneous work ($6.9 million); 14 fill on culverts ($3 million); and 10 ballast-deck projects ($2.4 million).

Focus of MOW program: Tie installation, OOF undercutting and super surface program.

Bridges key part of BNSF’s budget

BNSF Railway Co.’s MOW budget totaling $1.4 billion is up about 12 percent compared with 2007’s total. Part of the increase can be attributed to the Class I’s 2008 bridge program.

This year, the allocation will total $87.6 million, up 30 percent vs. last year’s program budget.

BNSF plans to spend $20 million on a few major structure projects in 2008, such as completing a three-year floor replacement at a bridge over the Missouri River in Kansas City, Mo.; conducting the first of two phases to install piers under steel spans at a Lake Pend O’Reille bridge in Sandpoint, Idaho, and the first of two phases to replace a 150-foot truss and approaches at a Pawnee, Okla., bridge; and replacing a swing span and approaches at a bridge over Bayou Bouef near Morgan City, La.

The railroad also will complete design work for the replacement of the Mississippi River bridge in Burlington, Iowa.

In addition, BNSF plans to spend $45.3 million to rebuild 104 bridges, $10 million to replace 40 open-deck ties, $6.9 million to complete miscellaneous projects, $3 million to finish 14 fill-on culverts and $2.4 million to complete 10 ballast deck projects.

— Jeff Stagl


Canadian National Railway Co.

2008 MOW budget: $847 million

2007 MOW budget: $803 million

Reason for increase: Additional investment in infrastructure and impact of currency exchange on material purchases.

Rail: Install 375 track miles of new CWR and 100 track miles of secondhand rail.

Sidings: Various extensions in Western Region to handle traffic growth to and from the West Coast to Winnipeg, Manitoba; expand siding capacity on Iowa Zone for growing methanol traffic.

Ties: Replace or install 1.8 million wood and 30,000 concrete ties.

Ballast: Install 2 million net tons of crushed rock ballast.

Grinding/surfacing: Grind 16,000 pass miles; surface 6,000 miles.

Bridge work: Spend $88 million to upgrade bridges systemwide.

Focus of MOW program: Extended work blocks to allow for enhanced production and reduced impact to overall train operation. Mega Blocks will be coordinated between regions to maximize the available time to install rail and ties, while maintaining operations. In addition, other trackwork will be undertaken by wayside forces in shadow of work blocks.

CSX Transportation

2008 MOW budget: $684 million

2007 MOW budget: $630.8 million

Reason for increase: Additional rail added to program, plus inflation on material.

Rail: Replace or install 600 miles with CWR.

Ties: Replace or install 3 million wood ties.

Ballast: Install 3.9 million tons.

Grinding/surfacing: Grind 18,000 miles; surface 6,125 miles.

Bridge work: Total budget of $48 million to rehabilitate various bridges.

Focus of MOW program: Rail program has increased 150 miles over last year, with most additional rail to be installed in out-of-face lots. Rail will be laid in yards, passing sidings.


Much on KCSM’s MOW plate

Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V.’s (KCSM) MOW budget of $251 million is down 16 percent vs. last year. The Class I is planning fewer projects in 2008 compared with 2007, says KCSM spokesman Jaime Alejandro Valdez Gomez.

But that’s not to say this year is bereft of significant projects. KCSM plans to build double track, extend sidings, accelerate the construction of an intermodal terminal and pursue a new logistics center in the Valley of Mexico.

The railroad will construct double track between Rojas and Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, and extend sidings in Taretan, Michoacán, and San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato. KCSM also will replace 50 miles of rail with continuous-welded rail, replace 165,000 wood and 67,000 concrete ties, and complete preliminary engineering and environmental impact studies for international bridge crossings in Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros.

In addition, the Class I will build an intermodal terminal at Lazaro Cardenas/Palm Island to complement a Hutchinson Port Holdings terminal that opened in November 2007. The Lázaro Cárdenas facility will enhance Kansas City Southern’s international intermodal corridor and tap into economically growing Mexican cities, such as Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Saltillo and Monterrey, KCSM said.

Also on tap for 2008: development of the MEGAMEX project. KCSM plans to create a valley logistics center to facilitate rail traffic in an industrial region north of Mexico City. As of late March, the Class I continued to seek a site and development partner.

— Jeff Stagl


Norfolk Southern Railway

2008 MOW budget: $625 million

2007 MOW budget: $569 million

Reason for increase: Increased rail program and dock improvements at Norfolk Coal Pier.

Rail: Replace or install 249.1 miles with CWR and 98.3 miles of relay rail.

Double or triple track: Install total of 19.2 miles at various locations.

Sidings: Total of 8.5 miles of new sidings and 6 miles of siding extensions.

Ties: Replace or install 2.5 million wood ties.

Ballast: Install 2.9 million tons.

Grinding/surfacing: 14,000 miles.

Bridge work: Replace or significantly rehabilitate 91 bridges systemwide.

Focus of MOW program: Concentrate on maintaining first-class track and bridges while making strategic infrastructure improvements, including I-81 and Heartland corridor projects.

Canadian Pacific Railway

2008 MOW budget: $522 million

2007 MOW budget: $460 million

Reason for increase: Work stoppage in 2007 by TCRC/BMWED in Canada resulted in deferral of MOW work.

Rail: Replace or install 419 track miles; 323 track miles of CWR and 96 track miles of relay CWR and jointed rail.

Sidings: Build sidings in Alberta and British Columbia.

Ties: Install 1.04 million wood ties.

Ballast: Install 850,000 tons.

Grinding/surfacing: Grind 23,400 pass miles and 10,000 events (switches and crossings).

Bridge work: Six span replacement projects: Keewatin Sub ($2.3 million); Mountain Sub ($1.8 million); Minnedosa Sub ($1.5 million); Freight Main Line Sub ($1.1 million); Indian Head Sub ($1.4 million); and Wilkie Sub ($1.8 million).

Focus of MOW program: Rail is up over five-year average owing to deferrals from TCRC/BMWED work stoppage in 2007.


Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V.

2008 MOW budget: $251 million

2007 MOW budget: $300 million

Reason for decrease: Fewer projects planned in 2008 vs. 2007.

Rail: Replace or install 50 miles with CWR.

Double track: Segment from Rojas to Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, Mexico.

Sidings: Build sidings in Taretan, Michoacán, and San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.

Ties: Install or replace 165,000 wood and 67,000 concrete ties.

Ballast: Install 99,900 cubic meters.

Bridge work: Renew masonry culverts and concrete waterway floors; construct heads and sidewalls; replace sheet metal pipe culverts; culvert construction of bridge walkways; replace concrete bridges mainly at B Line in the states of Nuevo León, Coahuila, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato and Michoacán.

Focus of MOW program: Rail and wood ties in the Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, corridor due to new facilities in Palm Island.


The Kansas City Southern Railway Co.

2008 MOW budget: $116 million

2007 MOW budget: $119 million

Reason for difference: Comparable spending, with no major drivers or changes.

Rail: Replace or install 75 miles with CWR.Sidings: Extensions at Hughes Springs, Texas; Jaudon, Mo.; and Potter, Ark.

Ties: Replace or install 425,000 wood ties.

Ballast: Install 500,000 tons.

Grinding/surfacing: Surface 3,000 miles.

Bridge work: Rehabilitate ($1.5 million) Sulphur River Bridge in Texas; fill multiple timber bridges on Meridian Speedway.

Focus of MOW program: Rail and tie renewal between Kansas City and Shreveport, La., to support the main coal route.


Coming soon: Kate Shelley Bridge No. 2

In November, Union Pacific Railroad expects to complete a three-year, $43 million bridge project.

The Class I is building a new double-track Kate Shelley Bridge near Boone, Iowa, to replace a structure built over the Des Moines River in 1901.

This year, UP is budgeting $18 million for the project as part of 2008’s $128 million bridge program allocation.

The project calls for constructing a 2,550-foot-long, 190-foot-high structure, which after completion will be one of North America’s highest double-track rail bridges, according to UP.

OCCI Inc. is the contractor and HDR Engineering Inc. is the project designer.

The bridge is named after Kate Shelley, who as a 15-year-old in 1881 alerted Chicago & Northwestern Railroad officials about a bridge collapse in the same area as the current structure.

— Jeff Stagl


Class Is

Regionals/Short lines

Passenger Railroads


Browse articles on MOW survey maintenance of way survey MOW spending maintenance of way spending infrastructure spending rail capacity Union Pacific BNSF CSX Norfolk Southern CN Canadian National Canadian Pacific KCS Kansas City Southern

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.