Freight railroad network BNSF Railway Co. says it plans to invest about $145 million on maintenance and rail capacity expansion projects in Illinois this year.
In addition to replacing a pair of bridges in Princeton and Wyanet and constructing a new 7,600-ft-long siding between Barstow and Hillsdale, plans call for extending three departure tracks at Galesburg Yard to lengths of 10,000 feet each. BNSF also will add track and parking to a logistics park in Chicago and nearby intermodal facilities.
Maintenance plans include about 2,700 miles of track surfacing and undercutting work and replacement of 90 miles of rail and more than 150,000 railroad ties, in addition to signal upgrades for federally mandated positive train control.
“Capital investments in Illinois will help ensure our network is prepared for growing demand for freight rail,” BNSF CEO Matthew K. Rose indicated in a statement. “We are focused on expanding capacity where growth is occurring. Given the importance of a low-cost supply chain to the U.S. economy, our rail infrastructure is well positioned to help Illinois compete in global markets."
In all, BNSF is investing $4.3 billion in capital improvements this year, including $2.3 billion on its core network and related assets. It also plans to spend about $1 billion on locomotive, freight car and other equipment acquisitions, many of which will serve Illinois. The program also includes about $200 million for positive train control and $800 million for terminal, line and intermodal expansion and efficiency projects.
Since 2000, BNSF has invested more than $42 billion to improve and expand its freight rail network. It operates on 32,500 route miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces.