Skip to comments.BNSF to invest $5 billion in its railroad in 2014
Posted on 02/06/2014 5:28:13 AM PST by thackney
BNSF plans to invest $5 billion in its railroad this year, including $900 million to expand capacity in the Northern Plains where crude oil shipments are surging.
The railroad said Tuesday its 2014 spending plan is roughly $1 billion higher than last year. BNSF says its responding to significant volume growth.
Some projects should help alleviate congestion near the booming Bakken oil field in North Dakota and Montana...
(Excerpt) Read more at fuelfix.com ...
Berkshire Hathaway’s BNSF Railroad OKs $5 Billion Spending Plan
BNSF expects to continue its growth in 2014 due to increased volumes in the agricultural, automotive, intermodal, and industrial products (including crude oil and coal) industries. Some projects should help alleviate congestion near the booming Bakken oil field in North Dakota and Montana. Last week, the National Association of Railroad Passengers complained to officials that the growth in oil shipments was disrupting Amtrak passenger service.
Carl Ice, president and CEO of BNSF, said of 2014’s capital expenditure plans: “BNSF’s capital investments are an integral part of making sure our network is well prepared for the demand for freight rail service in the U.S. and helps ensure the continued integrity and reliability of our network.”
According to the Financial Times, three major North American railroads have been hit with huge tie-ups. Canadian National (CN), Canadian Pacific (CP) and especially BNSF are suffering under the weight of massive loads of commodities, including shale oil, being shipped to the West Coast and the Mississippi.
Although grain is the biggest culprit, mainly thanks to the bumper crop that Stuart mentions, shale oil is doing its part as well. BNSF and CP are among the biggest transporters of crude from North Dakotas fast-growing Bakken Shale oil producing region, according to the FT.
For example, as of last summer, BNSF shipped about 650,000 barrels of crude per day, against almost none five years ago, according to Bloomberg. CP expected to haul 70,000 carloads of crude in 2013, up from 500 in 2009, the article states the bulk of it from Bakken. According to a June report by Bloomberg Industries, 71 percent of all Bakken crude now leaves the region by train, compared with 25 percent in January 2012. Only 20 percent travels by pipeline, down from 61 percent in 2011.
By some accounts, rail-based crude transportation costs five times more ($10$15 per barrel). If more safety issues like the one mentioned above keep cropping up, in addition to the railway logjams the big boys are facing right now, and if a successful pipeline extension is finally built, we may see an about face in the statistics in that graph.
BNSF is the prime beneficiary of the Obama policy to prevent the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
BNSF is owned by Warren Buffett, a huge contributor to Barack Obama.
Follow the money.
I work for BNSF, but I also have also read that Buffet picked up Phillips 66 which I believe is the company that patented some chemical process which allows better transportation of crude through pipe.
Genius either way it goes...
40% of our Rail workforce is able to retire in the next 5 years...and needless to say there are always jobs to be had for someone who wants a good job, not just a job “in my town”.
If anyone reading this thread has a kid who is considering leaving the military, BNSF is hiring.
Private Message me and I’ll provide more info.
If you have been making money, isn’t the surge in income best spent on maintenance as well as improvements up north?
The billions don’t go far repairing the thousands of track miles.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought a business unit (Phillips Specialty Products) of Phillips 66, not the whole company.
You are correct one of the chemicals they make is a drag reducing agent for use in moving fluids through pipelines.
I have had a flatcar that was stuck in Eola, IL for 3 weeks.
It arrived in the Chicago area on 1/5/14 and was just switched to the NS a couple days ago. The BNSF is so screwed up right now moving cars in Winnipeg and around the Chicago area. They do not seem to care about their flatcar business anymore. It is all about oil.
I am being told that the railroads automated all their switches a few years back. Now they have someone pushing a button in KC and the frozen switch does not move. My understanding is they do not have the people to go out and maintain the switches like they formerly did. What say you?
They would not spend this kind of money if they have not been told there will be NO pipeline.
Are they hiring 36 year old men? I’m an Environmental Technician located in Memphis. BNSF has an intermodal yard here and they have multiple coal trains run through on a daily basis. I’m slowly working toward a degree in Environmental science so, without a degree, don’t know what I would be qualified for.
I couldn’t tell you what is happening on that side of the States. As for button pushers in KC. As for Chicago...I heard from some of our new engineers who went to KC to train...”thats where the railroad goes to die”, “those guys were the most negative and piss-poor attitude railroaders I’ve ever met...”
Some of the delay has definitely been weather related. Here in CA we’ve had several of our fresh-veggie trains delayed or scrubbed because they couldn’t process it all back East.
I think its a Region-wide issue IMO.
As for button pushers...
We have dispatchers in TX who run things out West and Dispatchers in San Bernardino who do as well. If a switch is stuck in one position, there are procedures in place for the crew to follow if that happens.
And you’d be surprised who they’d hire. I have personally worked with Ex-Real Estate agents, former truck drivers, lumberjacks, firefighters etc. Most of them are weeded out at the application process as the Federal qualifications test is 300 questions and you need 90% to pass just to get a basic switchmans job.