UP sees stable spending on infrastructure, less on capacity

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BOCA RATON, Fla. — Opening the presentations by Class I railroads at this year’s National Railway Construction & Maintenance Association Conference in Boca Raton, Fla., Union Pacific says Monday that it expects to spend a similar amount on infrastructure in 2017 as it did in 2016, with less intended for capacity expansion.

UP has not yet set its budget for 2017, so no dollar figures are available.

Kevin Hicks, associate vice president of engineering design, notes the railroad’s overall capital budget was $3.6 billion in 2016. Of that, 53 percent, or $1.9 billion, went to infrastructure projects, a dollar figure he said he does not expect “will be a whole lot different” in 2017. The largest portions of the 2017 budget will likely see 33 percent spent on tie replacement, 18 percent on replacing 657 miles of rail and 16 percent on bridges and other projects.

UP spent $325 million on capacity projects in 2016. With traffic down, that figure will likely be lower in 2017, although several projects remain under consideration.

The railroad has now spent about $2.3 billion of an estimated $2.9 billion on positive train control implementation, Hicks said, and is operating about 40 trains per day in a test program in Southern and Central Cailfornia. Almost 90 percent of route-miles are now equipped, and more than 80 percent of locomotives have equipment at least partially installed.

UP is the first of five Class I railroads scheduled to make presentations at the conference. Norfolk Southern and Canadian National will make presentations on Tuesday, and CSX and BNSF will present on Wednesday.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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