The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has announced that the US's major freight railroads will invest about $24.5bn in 2013 to build, maintain and upgrade the rail network in the country.
Out of the total amount, around $13bn is expected to be invested in capital expenditures to upgrade or improve rail network capacity in the year ahead.
AAR president and CEO Edward Hamberger said: "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."
The investment will be used in projects such as intermodal terminals that facilitate truck-to-train freight transport, as well as the construction of new track, bridges and tunnels.
Procurement of new locomotives and rail cars, modernisation of safety equipment and other components will also be covered by the investments.
In 2013, the freight railroads expect to hire over 11,000 employees in response to retirements and attrition for positions that can be found across the US.
AAR member companies operate over 140,000 miles of rail network in North America.
Members of AAR include the major freight railroad operators in the US, Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak.
Image: The planned investment by AAR members in 2013 will be used to upgrade the US rail network. Photo: courtesy of Marcel Marchon.