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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

DM&E maintains MOW, mechanical focus despite pending PRB project


Long before starting construction on its $1.4 billion Powder River Basin project, Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp. (DM&E) plans this year to spend $7.4 million to spruce up its existing network.
The 1,105-mile regional's maintenance-of-way plans target 400 track miles for surfacing work, and various areas for spreading 1,240 carloads (about 77,000 tons) of crushed-rock ballast to strengthen track, according to DM&E's March newsletter.
The railroad also plans to install 37,200 wood ties — about half on its Sanborn-to-Tracy, Minn., and Pierre-to-Rapid City, S.D., lines.
Meanwhile, DM&E's mechanical department plans to change 42 electric locomotive-traction motors, and replace four air compressors, four main generators, eight turbochargers and three prime diesel-engine movers.
The regional's overall locomotive availability increased in January to 94.7 percent compared with 93 percent a year earlier. To increase reliability, DM&E keeps complete computer records of every locomotive's and rail car's work history, including maintenance performed by other railroads or leasing companies.