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BNSF finishes final '03 phase of Panhandle subdivision double-track project


On Nov. 14, Burlington Northern Santa Fe workers completed the last phase of 2003 double-track work on the Panhandle Subdivision, cutting over 16 miles between Lora and Canadian, Texas, on Nov. 14.

A total of 43.3 miles of double track have been added to the subdivision this year. On Oct. 29, 14 miles of double-track between Coburn and Clear Creek, Texas, went into service. The first section, between Lora and Codman, Texas, was put into service in July.

The construction began seven months ago and was on an accelerated schedule to handle burgeoning intermodal traffic on the Class I's Los Angeles-to-Chicago mainline.

"The Panhandle project encompasses about 103 miles total, primarily in the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma," said Robert Boileau, BNSF assistant vice president, engineering services, on BNSF Today, the railroad's online news service for employees. "This area has historically been a bottleneck for us."

The new double track has already made an impact. Typically about 60 daily trains operate on the line, but with peak season under way, up to 75 trains are operating on the line. Moreover, the work was completed without reportable injuries, said Tom Schmidt, BNSF director, engineering services.

BNSF has planned an additional 27 miles of Panhandle double-tracking in 2004, with the remainder anticipated to be completed in 2005. Work already has started on a 2.2-mile segment from Canadian to Clear Creek, Texas, which includes a 1,400-foot steel bridge at Canadian. Grading is under way on the 25-mile section between Curtis and Tangier, Okla. BNSF officials project a next-summer cut-over.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/17/2003