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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BNSF, Washington state port launch construction on loop track

BNSF Railway Co. and Port of Vancouver USA officials recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for a rail project that will support the Port Terminal 5 expansion program.

The parties will build a seven-mile loop track to accommodate unit trains and connect with a new port access point along BNSF's Columbia River Gorge route. Currently, freight and Amtrak trains must cross over BNSF's Portland-to-Seattle mainline connection and face potential congestion and delays.

Eighty percent of freight heading into and out of the port moves by rail, but port tracks aren’t long enough to accommodate unit trains that can stretch more than one mile and block mainline traffic.

The new loop track is designed to accommodate full unit trains and reduce waiting time by five to 15 minutes for trains crossing the mainline. BNSF estimates that the track will triple rail capacity at the port.

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More News from 8/19/2009