January 2021 • The latest from the Pacific Northwest
BNSF Announces 2021 Capital Investments
BNSF Railway announced its 2021 capital investment plan of $2.99 billion. This year’s capital plan focuses on projects that support the company’s growth and efficiency objectives, while maintaining a strong and reliable railroad.
“Every year through our capital plan, we work to ensure we are able to continue to operate a safe and efficient rail network, provide our customers with the level of service they have come to expect from BNSF as well as position ourselves for future growth opportunities,” said Katie Farmer, BNSF Railway president and CEO.
The largest component of this year’s capital plan will be to replace and maintain BNSF’s core network and related assets, similar to last year’s $3.08 billion capital program. Maintaining the railroad results in fewer unscheduled service outages that can slow down the rail network and reduce capacity.
The 2021 plan’s maintenance component is $2.41 billion and includes projects that replace and upgrade rail and track infrastructure like ballast and rail ties—the main components for the tracks on which BNSF trains operate—and maintain its rolling stock. This includes nearly 11,000 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work and the replacement of 428 miles of rail and approximately 2.6 million rail ties. Click here to read more!
Online Shopping Clicks with Consumers During Pandemic
Buying a new pair of pants for work, picking up a bouquet of flowers for your Mom’s birthday, purchasing a spice rack to help organize your kitchen and indulging yourself with that special item you have had your eye on for weeks. In the past, these errands could have taken a weekend afternoon to complete, but today with online retailing, you can accomplish these same tasks in a few minutes.
E-retail has grown significantly since 2010 when online retail sales only accounted for approximately 4% of total retail sales in the U.S. As consumers adopted new shopping habits, mobile apps and websites became more user-friendly to help shoppers easily place their order with a swipe, click or press of a button. Fast forward to 2019, when e-commerce accounted for approximately 16% of retail sales in the U.S.
In 2020, the pandemic shocked the U.S. economy, with economic closures and stay-at-home orders. North American intermodal freight volumes dropped roughly 10% year over year. However, retail spending trends quickly shifted from travel, tourism and events to products used to enhance life and entertainment at home. The safest and most convenient way for consumers to acquire these items was online.
“For our part in the intermodal cycle, shippers have a great opportunity to leverage BNSF intermodal hubs to co-locate distribution centers and warehouses near those facilities, and in concert with our international and domestic carrier partners, we create a cost- and carbon-efficient supply chain through which goods may flow to retail stores and customers,” said Tom Williams, BNSF group vice president, Consumer Products. “Our intermodal facilities are strategically located in population centers across the country to position inventories in major consumption markets.”
For many consumers, online retailing is now their preferred way to shop. Last year BNSF experienced 14% growth in our parcel shipments, with a 16% increase during the holiday season. Read more here!
Supporting Our Communities
The BNSF Railway Foundation invests in the communities across the 28 states through which BNSF operates, and where BNSF employees live, work and volunteer. Recent donations include:
Supporting North Idaho First Responders
The BNSF Railway Foundation provided a grant to help equip the Paradise Valley Fire Districts’ response vehicles with gas detectors. The rural Fire District covers 65-square-miles of primarily open wildlands and agricultural fields located southeast of the town of Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The Fire District currently maintains two fire stations to protect the lives and property of 2,600 residents, who make up nearly 25% of Boundary County’s total population.
Conserving Land in Southern Oregon
The Klamath Lake Land Trust advocates for South Central Oregon’s forest, wetlands, deserts and watersheds, through restoration, land acquisition, conservation easements, ecologically informed land management and public education. A $5,000 grant from the BNSF Railway Foundation will help increase land conservation efforts so the community can better enjoy the natural wonders.
Serving Youth in Foster Care
Treehouse’s goal is that by 2022, youth in foster care across Washington state will graduate from high school at the same rate as their peers, with support and a plan to launch successfully into adulthood. A $10,000 grant from the BNSF Railway Foundation will help children in Eastern Washington achieve this goal through Treehouse’s Graduation Success program. Treehouse is dedicated to closing the achievement gap between youth in foster care and their peers forever.
Emergencies – Call 800-832-5452
To report a vehicle stalled on a crossing, suspicious circumstances, malfunctioning crossing gates and lights, or any other emergency, call 800-832-5452 immediately.
Have a Question for Us?
Do you have a question about BNSF or rail in the Pacific Northwest that you would like addressed in future issues of Inside Track? Send them to [email protected].