|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,” said Doug Ryhorchuk, vice-president of CN’s Western Region. “Our investments in new double track across the Prairies combined with new equipment and more people will help us deliver superior service to our grain, energy and other customers across the province and North America. Additionally, our substantial investments to renew our existing railway infrastructure underscores our commitment to operating safely.”
The Saskatchewan investments are part of CN’s record C$3.4 billion capital program for 2018. They include more than 20 miles of new double track in three locations along CN’s busy transcontinental corridor across the province. Other capital program investments will focus on the replacement, upgrade and maintenance of key track infrastructure to improve overall safety and efficiency.
Planned expansion projects include:
- Construction of 10 miles of double track just east of Melville
- Construction of about seven miles of double track west of the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border
- Construction of about 11 miles of double track near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border
- Installation of new track capacity at CN’s Melville Yard
- Maintenance program highlights include:
- Replacement of approximately 40 miles of rail
- Installation of more than 180,000 new railroad ties
- Rebuilds of approximately 20 road crossing surfaces
Maintenance work on bridges, including continuation of a multi-year project on the rail bridge over the South Saskatchewan River east of Warman, plus culverts, signal systems and other track infrastructure.
CN’s Saskatchewan rail network connects agricultural customers across the Prairies to worldwide markets and has major terminals in Saskatoon, Regina and Melville.
“This investment by CN into Saskatchewan is very welcome and will play a critical role in keeping Saskatchewan products moving,” said Steve McLellan, chief executive officer of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. “The new and enhanced rail lines, new cars, more people, and locomotives all mean our products will get to market faster to better serve our global clients. The importance of trade to our economy is clear and these investments show CN’s commitment to this province.”
The investment received support from the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association.
“Moving grain from the Prairies to our customers in export markets is absolutely critical to western farmers,” said Jim Wickett, chair of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and grain farmer at Rosetown, Saskatchewan. “We’re pleased CN is making these essential infrastructure investments and improving their capacity, which will help ensure we can move our crops efficiently for not just the next harvest, but also for the larger future harvests in the years ahead.”
The investment plan comes after the company’s recent announcement to also invest across the company’s rail network in British Colombia, Alberta and Québec.
Across its network, CN continues to invest in trade-enabling infrastructure and equipment. In May, CN said 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.