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BNSF Railway Co. announced yesterday that it anticipates spending $4.3 billion on capital expenditures this year, down from the company's record investment of $6 billion in infrastructure and other capital improvements in 2015.The 2016 capex program reflects the Class I's efforts to add capacity to support customer demand while bringing investment in line with current volumes, BNSF officials said in a press release."Each year, our capital plan works to balance our near term need to regularly maintain a vast network that is always in motion with the longer term demand outlook of our customers," said President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Ice. "While our customers' demand outlook has softened in a number of sectors, regular maintenance of our network continues to drive the majority of our annual investments and helps ensure we continuously operate a safe and reliable network."The largest component of the 2016 plan will be $2.8 billion to replace and maintain BNSF's core network and related assets to keep its railroad infrastructure in top condition, company officials said. Those efforts will include replacing and upgrading rail, rail ties and ballast.The plan also includes more than $300 million for continued implementation of positive train control, and more than $600 million for locomotives, freight cars and other equipment acquisitions.About $500 million is earmarked for expansion, including for projects that were started in 2015, such as installing a new bridge and second track to cross the Pecos River and double track near Fort Sumner, N.M.Additionally, this year's projects include double-track work and centralized traffic control signaling that will add capacity and improve efficiency in constrained areas of the network, BNSF officials said.
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