SOURCE: BNSF Railway Company

January 25, 2008 12:02 ET

BNSF Operates Southern Company Coal Train Equipped With New-Generation Braking System

FORT WORTH, TX--(Marketwire - January 25, 2008) - A coal train equipped with a new-generation braking system is leaving Wyoming's Powder River Basin today, bound for Southern Company's Plant Miller near Birmingham, Ala., on BNSF Railway. The train's electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes have the potential to improve brake system performance and reliability and reduce maintenance requirements and fuel usage.

ECP brakes utilize electronic signals to simultaneously apply and release brakes throughout the length of a freight train. This differs from conventional brake systems in which each car brakes individually as air pressure moves in a series from car to car. The equipment reflects improvements based on testing of similar systems by BNSF in the 1990s.

BNSF is equipping 12 locomotives with ECP technology provided by New York Air Brake Corporation, and Southern Company is equipping 300 cars with technology from Wabtec Corporation. The ECP-equipped locomotives and cars will make up two full 135-car train sets, which will be used to assess the performance of the current generation of ECP brakes.

"The use of ECP brakes will provide the potential for improved safety, faster coal deliveries, fewer rail cars and reduced maintenance expense; all of which will benefit our customers," said Jeff Wallace, vice president of fuel services for Southern Company.

"We are pleased to participate in advancing this important technology," says Carl Ice, BNSF's executive vice president and chief operations officer. "Through the operation of these trains, we look forward to gaining additional experience with the deployment of ECP brakes."

With 4.3 million customers and more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast, one of America's fastest-growing regions. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are significantly below the national average. Southern Company has been listed the top ranking U.S. electric service provider in customer satisfaction for eight consecutive years by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Visit our Web site at www.southerncompany.com.

A subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (NYSE: BNI), BNSF Railway Company operates one of the largest North American rail networks, with about 32,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF is among the world's top transporters of intermodal traffic, moves more grain than any other American railroad, carries the components of many of the products we depend on daily, and hauls enough low-sulfur coal to generate about ten percent of the electricity produced in the United States. BNSF is an industry leader in Web-enabling a variety of customer transactions at www.bnsf.com.

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