The BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) announced that it has launched a $17.5 million track maintenance project on its main line between Bakersfield and Fresno, CA that will help improve the reliability and ride quality of both passenger and freight trains using the route.
To minimize the impact on customers and communities, work that could have been spread across many months will be completed in a four-week period between January 17th and February 20th across this 105-mile subdivision. This is one of the larger maintenance projects that BNSF has undertaken in such a short time frame.
According to Don Dill, General Director Line Maintenance, “This concentrated track work program allows BNSF to perform a large number of track upgrades in a compressed time. The end result will be improved track reliability, improved ride quality for Amtrak passenger trains and improved track structure to support greater velocity for freight movements between Bakersfield and Fresno.”
The Bakersfield track renewal project includes improvements to 15 at-grade rail crossings, the installation of 77,150 wood crossties; eight miles of new rail; 100 miles of track resurfacing, and undercutting work (for drainage improvement) on four miles of track.
To achieve the compressed time schedule, the project requires BNSF to bring in 350 additional employees from various parts of the railroad that will be assigned to specific track and rail renewal projects across the line. BNSF expects to spend more than $700,000 in lodging and food along the route during this project.
BNSF plans to close the line and perform maintenance six hours a day.
Customers have been notified about any temporary changes in their freight schedules.
Command centers will be situated in Bakersfield, Fresno and Hanford where BNSF personnel will be stationed during the work day.
Some highway-rail grade crossings along this rail line will be closed temporarily as maintenance crews reconstruct track. In most cases, an affected crossing will only be closed a few hours on a particular day. BNSF has worked closely with all the communities to plan crossing closure schedules and identify alternate routes for traffic.