The operation is delivering solid overall performance while handling robust freight volume. We are experiencing good fluidity across the network with reduced terminal dwell and total trains held this week. Average velocity for both cars and trains remains strong and significantly higher than levels from the previous January. With increased market demand, particularly in our intermodal business, BNSF set an all-time January record for volume in a single week, with nearly 210,000 units moved during the Week 4 reporting period, January 21-27.
2018 BNSF Capital Plan
BNSF announced our 2018 capital investment plan earlier this week. The approximately $3.3 billion plan will ensure that we continue to operate a safe and reliable rail network while meeting freight shipment demands. Like last year, the largest component of the plan will be to replace and maintain BNSF's core network and related assets. This year's maintenance program will include approximately 13,000 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work and the replacement of more than 500 miles of rail and nearly three million rail ties.
The plan includes $500 million for expansion and efficiency projects. The majority of those projects are focused on key growth areas along our Southern and Northern Transcon routes, connecting Southern California with Chicago and the Pacific Northwest to Upper Midwest respectively. We will provide further details on many of the line capacity projects in subsequent updates throughout the year.
We also allocate $300 million for freight cars and other equipment acquisitions as well as $100 million for continued implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC). BNSF is the only Class I freight railroad to have completed the installation of PTC on all its federally mandated subdivisions. We are currently running hundreds of trains daily with PTC as we continue to test and refine this highly complex system.
Get the Latest Agricultural News in Sam Sexhus' Podcast
In this week's audio podcast, BNSF Group Vice President of Agricultural Products, Sam Sexhus, gives a network update and covers some of the capital maintenance work planned for 2018, specifically in the Northern region.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
Extremely cold temperatures have returned across much of the Northern Corridor and will remain in place during the next several days. Some traffic may experience delays due to train length restrictions as well as distributed power for trains that may be needed. No major winter storms are expected at this time, and much of the network will experience favorable operating conditions as we move into February.
Some trains may experience delays due to ongoing maintenance activity, as shown on this map, along our Ft. Worth, Panhandle and Slaton Subdivisions in north Texas next week. Rail replacement work will also continue on our Birmingham Subdivision in Mississippi and Alabama, which may also cause some delays during scheduled work windows.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending February 1:
Total trains held for the week decreased by more than 21 percent with an average of 61.4 trains held versus 77.9 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the January 2017 average: down by 32.6%
Total trains on the system was up by nearly three percent versus the prior week with an average of 1,515 trains on the system.
Versus the January 2017 average: up by 10.8%
Car velocity was up by more than one percent at 232.7 MPD versus 229.9 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the January 2017 average: up by 11.1%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was essentially unchanged versus the prior week at 19.7 MPH.
Versus the January 2017 average: up by 6.9%
Total volume was up by nearly four percent from the prior week with 209,567 units moved in Week 4 (ending January 27) versus 201,533 units in Week 3 (ending January 20).
Terminal dwell decreased by nearly one percent versus the prior week at 24.1 hours.
Versus the January 2017 average: down by 16.1%
As always, we thank you for your business and appreciate the opportunity to serve as your transportation service provider. We welcome your feedback and questions.