Burlington Northern Inc. said Monday it will spend $750 million this year on projects that include expansion of the massive Pasco rail yard.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based company will spend $7 million to add seven 6,500-foot track segments at Pasco to accommodate growing grain hopper traffic, said spokesman Gus Melonas in Seattle.
The company also will lay new ties and improve track conditions between Pasco and Spokane and Pasco and Wishram, Wash., in the Columbia River Gorge.
“Things are too congested,” Melonas said. “This will result in more consistent, timely and safer train movements.”
The Pasco expansion will make it easier to combine cars for long-haul delivery, Melonas said. Construction will begin in April and conclude in the fall before harvest.
Melonas did not think the project would affect Spokane operations or employment.
Of Burlington Northern’s total $750 million expenditure, about $627 million will go toward railway improvements, including new rails and ties, 134 new locomotives and 120 aluminum coal cars.
Burlington Northern also said it will:
Expand its rail yards in Galesburg, Ill., and Lincoln and Alliance, Neb.
Install 45 miles of new track in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
Spend more than $4 million for a new management system.
Put into service its first full 21-car trainset “Trough Train” for Union Electric Power Co. The train uses articulated sections to increase coal-carrying capacity without adding length.
Last week, the company’s $4 billion bid to acquire Santa Fe Pacific Corp. was cleared when rival suitor Union Pacific Corp. withdrew its offer. The merger with Santa Fe will make Burlington Northern the largest U.S. railroad.
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