OREANDA-NEWS. BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) today announced that its 2016 capital expenditure program in Minnesota will be an estimated USD 130 million. This year's plan in Minnesota is focused on maintenance projects that help ensure BNSF continues to operate a safe and reliable network and reflects the success BNSF has had in adding capacity in prior years to support customer demand. The 2016 program will also bring capital investments more in line with forecasted customer freight service demand. The largest component of this year's capital plan in the state will be for replacing and upgrading rail, rail ties and ballast, which are the main components for the tracks on which BNSF trains operate.

Regular maintenance of the railroad allows BNSF to keep its network infrastructure in optimal condition and reduces the need for unscheduled service work that can slow down the BNSF rail network and reduce capacity.

"The size of our operations in Minnesota makes this region important to the success of our overall network and the broader economy. Whether it is moving raw materials headed to manufacturing plants, finished products to retail stores, or passengers riding on Northstar and Amtrak, which operate on our network, we remain focused on operating a safe and reliable network at all times," said Tom Albanese, BNSF general manager of operations, Twin Cities Division.

BNSF's maintenance program in Minnesota includes more than 360 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work, the replacement of approximately 70 miles of rail and about 375,000 ties, as well as signal upgrades for federally-mandated positive train control (PTC). This year's program follows more than USD 550 million invested by BNSF in its network in Minnesota over the past three years.

The 2016 planned capital investments in the state are part of BNSF's USD 4.3 billion network-wide capital expenditure program announced last month. These investments include USD 2.8 billion to replace and maintain core network and related assets, approximately USD 500 million on expansion and efficiency projects, USD 300 million for continued implementation of PTC and more than USD 600 million for locomotives, freight cars and other equipment acquisitions.