BNSF Railway, one of the two major western U.S. railroads, has set a 2013 capital expenditure budget of $4.1 billion, the first time any U.S. railroad has budgeted more than $4 billion in capital spending in one year.
Fort Worth, Texas-based BNSF proposed 2013 budget is $450 million above its actual 2012 capital expense of $3.6 billion.
BNSF said it will spend about $2.3 billion on its core network and related assets, $1 billion on locomotive, freight car and other equipment acquisitions, and $550 million for terminal, line and intermodal expansion and efficiency projects, among other projects. The projects will focus on capacity expansion to support the growth of shale oil and gas development. They will also emphasize intermodal capacity expansion, such as its new $250 million intermodal yard in Edgerton, Kan., about 25 miles southwest of Kansas City.
The yard, considered one of the most ambitious public-private projects in the state's history, will anchor a $750 million intermodal and distribution complex. It is expected to open by the fourth quarter.
BNSF, a privately held unit of billionaire businessman and investor Warren E. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., usually leads the rail pack in the size of its capital investment. Its rival in the West, Union Pacific Railroad Co., follows close behind, last year budgeting only $300 million less than was budgeted by BNSF.
UP plans to announce its 2013 capital budget on Thursday when it releases its first-quarter financial report.