UNVEILING a $2·4bn capital programme for 2006 on January 24, BNSF Chairman, President & CEO Matthew K Rose said the railway was planning to invest 10% more than it did in 2005.

'We are increasing our capital investment programme to meet anticipated future volumes because we are confident that our return on invested capital will continue to improve', he explained. 'For 2005, ROIC was 10·1%, a significant improvement from 7·9% in 2004 and 6·6% in 2003.'

BNSF Railway plans to spend more than $1·4bn on renewals and upgrading of existing track, signalling, structures, and rolling stock. Another $400m will go on capacity expansion to meet increasing demand, and 310 locomotives will be bought at a cost of $550m.

Major projects include double- or triple-tracking another 65 km of the important Southern Transcon route, including the start of work on a second track to relieve the single-track bottleneck through the Abo Canyon east of Belen. BNSF will also expand its yard at Lincoln, Nebraska, and add about 80 km of double- and triple-track on its routes serving the Powder River coalfield, including sections of the UP-BNSF joint line. Eight intermodal facilities will be expanded, together with passing loops and fuelling facilities at various locations.