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Published May 07, 2014, 05:21 PM

Goehring applauds BNSF track projects

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring on May 7 applauded BNSF Railway’s enhancement of its track infrastructure in North Dakota because it will help get grain to market.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring on May 7 applauded BNSF Railway’s enhancement of its track infrastructure in North Dakota because it will help get grain to market.

Goehring particularly noted a $160 million project to install double track between Minot, N.D., and Glasgow, Mont.

“This announcement will certainly help, but we need to remain focused on helping farmers get their product to market in a reasonable time frame,” Goehring said. Work began on that project last year.

On Feb. 4, BNSF made an announcement of $5 billion in investments for the year, system-wide, including $400 million in North Dakota. The double tracking was part of that announcement, says Amy Casas, a BNSF spokeswoman.

The distance between Minot and Glasgow is about 270 miles, a key route for trains bound for important Pacific Northwest grain ports. BNSF will construct about 50 miles of double track in North Dakota this year in phases.

A recent North Dakota State University study said the delays in rail shipments had cost North Dakota farmers an estimated $66 million in reduced payment for grain during a four-month period this winter. Farmers also had worried about whether the railroad could keep up bringing in fertilizer for spring planting season needs, but a slow planting season as a result of cold, wet weather has taken some of that pressure off this year.

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