OREANDA-NEWS. BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) announced that its 2015 capital program for its operations in Washington will be an estimated USD 189 million for rail capacity improvement projects and maintenance. Unlike other modes of freight transportation, U.S. railroads own and maintain their own networks. To ensure BNSF's network operates at optimal efficiency, each year the company allocates capital for infrastructure and expansion projects that will enable it to serve the growing needs of customers from a broad cross section of the economy.

"This year's substantial investments in Washington are a clear reflection of how important our operations in the state are to our overall network and our unwavering commitment to always operating safely - for our people and the communities in which we operate," said Daryl Ness, BNSF general manager operations Northwest Division. "We know our customers are competing in a fast-paced, global economy where a smooth, efficient supply chain can be the difference between winning and losing in the marketplace. This year's planned expansion and maintenance projects will help give BNSF the capacity flexibility it needs to support our customers' growing demands and connect Washington products to key markets."

BNSF's 2015 capital projects in Washington include:
* Completing construction of double track from Ferndale to Custer totaling nearly seven miles.
* Constructing a staging track west of Custer to provide additional train capacity and a siding between Burlington and Fidalgo.
* Reconfiguring the Bayside and Delta rail yards located in Everett to improve efficiency and provide more capacity.
* Continuing to work through permitting and right-of-way issues involving the replacement of the Washougal River bridge in Camas. Construction should start this year and continue into 2016.

Continuous maintenance of BNSF's infrastructure ensures an optimized, safe and reliable network. Maintaining the railroad is important for keeping it in optimal condition and helps limit the need for unscheduled service outages that can slow down the rail network and reduce capacity. BNSF's maintenance program in Washington will include 1,011 miles of track surfacing and undercutting work, and the replacement of nearly 50 miles of rail and close to 203,000 ties, as well as signal upgrades for federally mandated positive train control (PTC).

The planned capital investments in Washington are part of BNSF's record 2015 capital commitment of USD 6 billion, which was announced last November and is the company's largest planned capital expenditure in its history. These investments include USD 2.9 billion to replace and maintain core network and related assets, nearly USD 1.5 billion on expansion and efficiency projects, USD 200 million for continued implementation of PTC and USD 1.4 billion for locomotives, freight cars and other equipment acquisitions.