Buffett Railroad Boosts Capital Plan to $3.9 Billion in Coal Bet

Warren Buffett

As reported by Natalie Doss and Noah Buhayar from bloomberg, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the railroad controlled by Warren Buffett, plans $3.9 billion in capital spending this year, an increase of 11 percent from 2011, as the company boosts capacity for coal shipments.

The 2012 proposal includes $2.1 billion on the core network and $1.1 billion on locomotive, freight car and equipment acquisitions, the company said in a statement today. The Fort Worth, Texas-based railroad is also spending $300 million this year on a U.S. rail-safety mandate.

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is increasing spending at the second-biggest U.S. rail operator after he made an “all-in wager” on the U.S. economy when he bought Burlington in early 2010 for about $26.5 billion. The largest U.S. freight railroads may boost capital expenditures to a record $13 billion in 2012 as their revenue rises amid gains in freight traffic, the Association of American Railroads said Jan. 30.

The investment will “ensure our infrastructure remains strong and improve the efficiency of our operations,” said Matthew Rose, CEO of the railroad, in the statement.

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