Norfolk Southern Corp. said Monday it plans to spend $2 billion this year for upkeep and upgrades to its rail transportation network.
The largest expenditure, $831 million, will go to maintenance and replacement of tracks, crossties, ballast and bridges to ensure reliable and safe operations, the company said.
Another $420 million will go towards the purchase of new locomotives and to rebuild existing units; replace body sections on coal cars; buy multilevel cars to handle increased automotive traffic; and buy intermodal containers and chassis.
About 11 percent of the 2013 budget, or $229 million, is designated for the continued implementation of positive train control, a safety technology required by the federal government.
Norfolk Southern also is investing $203 million in facilities and terminals, including the multi-year expansion of the Bellevue rail yard in northern Ohio, construction of a new intermodal terminal in Charlotte, N.C. as part of the Crescent Corridor initiative, completion of a new locomotive service facility in Conway, Pa., and new and expanded bulk transfer facilities.
The railroad also expects to spend $84 million in infrastructure improvements to increase main line capacity, accommodate traffic growth, and provide NS’ match for innovative public-private partnership investments such as CREATE in Chicago and the Crescent Corridor, which are designed to relieve highway congestion by moving freight off roads and onto rail.
Technology investments of $57 million are planned for new and upgraded systems and computers to enhance safety and improve operating efficiency and equipment utilization.
Eastern rival CSX last week set aside $2.3 billion for network improvements.
The Union Pacific announced during last week's earnings call with analysts that it plans to spend about $3.6 billion on maintenance and expansion of infrastructure. Last year it spent about $3.7 billion and has invested $18 billion in its network during the past five years.
Fellow western railroad BNSF said its 2013 capital expenditure would be about $4.1 billion. - Eric Kulisch