NORTH American Class 1 BNSF has announced a $US 3.96bn capital investment plan for 2023, of which $US 2.85bn will be devoted to maintaining its core network and related assets.

Maintenance projects included in the $2.85bn comprise replacing and upgrading rail and track infrastructure, such as ballast and sleepers, and maintaining rolling stock. This covers 22,531km of track maintenance work and the replacement of 556.8km of rail and approximately 2.8 million sleepers.

BNSF says its capital investments will “play a key role in its ability to operate a safe and reliable network while supporting the anticipated needs of its customers.”

$US 402m of this year’s capital plan is for equipment acquisitions and more than $US 700m has been allocated for expansion and efficiency projects to support the growth of BNSF intermodal and automotive, agricultural and industrial products customers, adding to the nearly $US 2.5bn invested in expansion over the past five years.

On its Southern Transcon route, between the West Coast and Midwest, BNSF says it will support traffic growth by commencing construction of a second bridge over the Missouri River at Sibley, Missouri, completing track-doubling for one of the last segments of single track along the Southern Transcon.

The plan, which continues projects that add several segments of new track in eastern Kansas and southern California, also includes the launch of a multi-year terminal and fuelling project near Belen, New Mexico. BNSF says all four projects will increase capacity throughout the corridor.

In addition, BNSF will complete a second main track expansion in Fort Worth, Texas. And in the Pacific Northwest, BNSF will begin a multi-year track doubling project near Spokane, Washington, including over the Spokane River and by constructing a siding near Pasco. BNSF will continue multi-year intermodal facility expansion projects in Chicago (Cicero) and Stockton, California.

Also in California, BNSF will continue its track efficiency improvement projects in San Bernardino, along with property acquisitions in the Barstow area, “enabling future rail facility and infrastructure development” for the Barstow International Gateway Project.

“Our capital plan reflects our growth mindset and commitment to having the capacity and equipment we need to support our customers,” said BNSF president and CEO, Ms Katie Farmer. “Continued investment in our network through our capital plans helps ensure we run a safe, efficient and growing railroad that provides customers with the service they expect from BNSF.”