CN puts $340 million into new B.C. infrastructure

CN announced yesterday it plans to invest approximately $340 million across British Columbia in 2018 to expand the company’s rail network throughout the province.

“We are investing for the long haul with these projects to boost capacity and network resiliency to meet growing traffic on our corridors to and from the West Coast and across B.C.,” said Doug Ryhorchuk, vice-president of CN’s Western Region, in a news release. “Our investments in infrastructure, equipment and people will help us deliver superior service to our customers across the province and North America. Additionally, our substantial investments to renew our existing railway infrastructure underscore our commitment to operating safely.”

The B.C. investments are part of CN’s $3.4 billion capital program for 2018 and include track expansion projects that will boost capacity, allowing CN to better service growing forest products, intermodal, grain and industrial customers. Other program elements will focus on the replacement, upgrade and maintenance of key track infrastructure to improve overall safety and efficiency.

Planned expansion projects include:

  • Construction of four new train passing sidings between Prince Rupert and Jasper, Alberta
  • Extension of three existing passing sidings between Prince Rupert and Jasper
  • A siding extension north of Kamloops on CN’s Vancouver to Edmonton corridor

Maintenance program highlights include:             

  • Replacement of approximately 115 miles of rail
  • Installation of more than 335,000 new railroad ties
  • Rebuilds of approximately 50 road crossing surfaces
  • Maintenance work on bridges, including continuation of the multi-year maintenance project on the Fraser River Bridge
  • Other maintenance work on culverts, signal systems and additional track infrastructure

CN’s B.C. rail network serves the West Coast gateways of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, and major inland terminals in Surrey, Prince George, Kamloops and Fort Nelson.

Earlier this year, CN announced plans to acquire 350 new box cars to serve forest products and metals customers and to purchase 350 new lumber cars to meet growing demand to move wood products, particularly from B.C. 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.

After adding hundreds of conductors to the field so far this year, CN continues to hire with a particular focus on crews in Western Canada. Approximately 1,250 new qualified conductors will be in the field network wide before next winter, compared to heading into the previous winter.

CN has also established a new, two-year management trainee program designed to provide a solid operational background for the railway’s next generation of leaders. Over the course of the program, trainees will learn how CN operates and gain exposure to the Company’s business agenda of operational and service excellence for its customers across North America. Successful graduates will be placed in full-time, permanent management positions aligned with individual educational background and experience.  The first 50 trainees, from both Canada and the United States, will start in July 2018.