Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Norfolk Southern outlines plans for capital projects

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Railroad operator Norfolk Southern Corp. plans to spend $2 billion in 2013 capital projects, some of it in Roanoke.

The Norfolk-based railroad previously described plans for $15.9 million of work in its Roanoke track corridor. The work, begun last year, is designed to permit train speeds to increase to 30 mph, twice the current rate, along the Roanoke segment of its north-south Crescent Corridor and east-west Heartland Corridor.

The project involves changing track positions to eliminate or reduce curves, new signals and other work to improve train flow. The railroad has said the project will not only speed up freight; it could expand use of rail as an alternative to trucks, which the railroad said will bring environmental benefits because trains use fuel more efficiently.

The railroad, with 20,000 route miles in 22 states and Washington, D.C., broke down its spending plan as follows:

>> $831 million for the maintenance and replacement of rail, crossties, ballast and bridges.

>> $420 million for new locomotives and upgrades to older ones; improvements to coal cars; multi-level freight cars for vehicles; and intermodal containers and chassis.

>> $229 million for continued implementation of positive train control, a technology designed to prevent train crashes, derailments caused by excess speed and other improper movements.

>> $203 million for facilities and terminals including a new intermodal yard in Charlotte, N.C.

>> $84 million for infrastructure work.

>> $57 million for technology and computers.

— Jeff Sturgeon and Associated Press

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