According to the announcement made by the Association of American Railroads on February 6, 2013 the nation’s major freight railroads plan to invest an estimated $24.5 billion to build, maintain and upgrade America’s rail network. These investments will ensure freight railroads can continue to deliver for the nation’s economy.
“While most other transportation modes rely on government funds, America’s freight railroads operate on infrastructure they own, maintain and upgrade to serve their customers and power our economy,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “This year, freight railroads plan to continue to focus on investments that maintain and enhance our physical infrastructure and safety systems, including cutting edge technology that ensures we are ready to deliver for the future.”
Some of the projects railroads are investing in include: intermodal terminals that facilitate truck to train freight transport; new track, bridges and tunnels; modernized equipment; new locomotives and rail cars.
Railroads have been spending roughly 17 percent of their annual revenue on capital expenditures in recent years. In comparison, the average manufacturer spends roughly three percent of their annual revenue on capital expenditures.
Freight railroads also estimate they will hire more than 11,000 employees in 2013; primarily due to retirements and attrition for positions across the U.S. Approximately 22 percent of the industry’s workforce will be eligible to retire in the next five years. In response to this the railroads are actively seeking skilled individuals interested in making railroading a life-long career. In the first five months of 2013 alone railroads are participating in more than 70 career fairs across the county.