CN continues to invest in rail network across Canada

by Holly Demaree-Saddler
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EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA — CN plans to invest C$320 million across Alberta in 2018 to expand the company’s rail network throughout the province.

Doug Ryhorchuk VP of Western Region
Doug Ryhorchuk, vice-president of CN’s Western region

“We are investing for the long haul with these projects to boost capacity and network resiliency to meet growing demand in grain, energy, forest products and other markets so important to Alberta’s economy,” said Doug Ryhorchuk, vice-president of CN’s Western region. “Our investments in new double track and yard expansions, combined with new equipment and more people, will help us deliver superior service to our customers in Alberta and North America. Additionally, our substantial investments to renew our existing railway infrastructure underscores our commitment to operating safely.”

The Alberta investments are part of CN’s C$3.4 billion capital program for 2018. They include more than 30 miles of new double track in four locations along CN’s busy transcontinental corridor across the province and rail yard expansions that will improve efficient movement of rail cars into and out of Edmonton. Other capital program elements will focus on the replacement, upgrade and maintenance of key track infrastructure to improve overall safety and efficiency.

Randy Boissonnault_ member of parliament for Edmonton Centre
Randy Boissonnault, member of parliament for Edmonton Centre

“I am thrilled to see CN making critical investments in Alberta that will help to grow our economy, create jobs, and ensure that Alberta and Western Canadian consumers continue to have access to key markets,” said Randy Boissonnault, member of parliament for Edmonton Centre.

Planned expansion projects include:

  • Construction of 12 miles of double track west of Edmonton across Parkland County
  • Construction of about seven miles of double track near Wainwright, east of Edmonton
  • Construction of about seven miles of double track near Tofield, east of Edmonton
  • Construction of about 11 miles of double track near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border
  • Installation of a new bypass track at Walker Yard in Edmonton, to increase efficiency of train movements through the yard
  • Building new storage and bypass tracks at Scotford Yard northeast of Edmonton for additional car storage and improved operational efficiency
  • Building new track capacity at CN’s yard in Swan Landing

Maintenance program highlights include:

  • Replacement of approximately 130 miles of rail
  • Installation of more than 270,000 new railroad ties
  • Rebuilds of approximately 40 road crossing surfaces
  • Maintenance work on bridges, culverts, signal systems and other track infrastructure
  • CN’s Alberta rail network includes key terminals in Edmonton and Calgary, serving customers in forest products, intermodal, agricultural and energy markets across the province.
Oneil Carlier Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
Oneil Carlier, Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

“Market access for Alberta producers is important for diversifying our economy, creating jobs, and making life better,” said Oneil Carlier, Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. “It’s great to see CN is making investments geared toward improvement in the rail network and boosting market access for our producers.”

The investment plan comes after the company’s recent announcement to also invest across the company’s rail network in British Colombia

Across its network, CN continues to invest in trade-enabling infrastructure and equipment. In May, CN announced that it plans to acquire 1,000 Canadian built, new generation high-cube grain hopper cars over the next two years to rejuvenate the aging equipment needed to serve increasing annual crop yields. In June, CN will take delivery of the first of 60 new GE locomotives due in service in 2018. The balance of a multi-year, 200-unit order will be brought online in 2019 and 2020.

The update to CN’s transportation cars comes after the Canadian government  approved a bill on May 23 that includes provisions to make grain transportation by rail more efficient.

Canada’s wide-ranging Transportation Modernization Act is intended to help grains and other crops move more quickly to market after a winter in which CN and Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway Ltd. struggled to ship harvested grain in a timely manner.

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