BNSF completes track expansion in Twin Cities

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MINNEAPOLIS — The opening of a new double-track segment on BNSF Railway's busy Midway Subdivision connecting St. Paul and Minneapolis contributes to expedited intermodal schedules beginning in mid-September, the railroad says.

"This completed double-track will help ease congestion through the Twin Cities by providing significant additional capacity," BNSF says in a customer-service update. The two miles of new track and the upgraded parallel main went into service on Sept. 1 between St. Anthony and Minneapolis Junction.

The Midway Sub was once a two- and four-track main when it was part of the Great Northern but over the years was cut back to one main with sidings. It handles much of the traffic through the Twin Cities and has been called one of the five biggest rail bottlenecks in the area by the magazine Twin Cities Business.

Amtrak's Empire Builder also uses the line.

Earlier this year BNSF said it would spend $326 million on maintenance and added capacity in Minnesota. This followed a troublesome 2013 and early 2014 when capacity constraints across the region compounded by a rough winter incurred the wrath of grain and coal shippers and their friends in Congress.

Since then BNSF has spent about $3.5 billion on various projects across its Northern Region.

BNSF also has announced new weekly schedules for domestic intermodal expedited shipping adding a seventh day westbound from Chicago and St. Paul to the Northwest and a sixth day eastbound. The schedule takes effect Monday and is attributed to both customer demand and capacity upgrades across the Northern Transcon.

Expedited trains average about 800 miles a day while standard service covers about 600 miles, according to BNSF.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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