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CN buying 1,000 new grain hopper cars in the next two years to upgrade fleet

A photo of one of the new grain hopper cars CN says it will be buying over the next two years. Supplied photo
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MONTREAL, Q.C. — CN Rail announced today that it plans to acquire 1,000 new high-cube grain hopper cars over the next two years to replace aging equipment needed to serve farmers in Canada. 

The company says it is buying new, 55-foot eight-inch jumbo hopper cars with 5,431 cubic feet of capacity. CN’s 12,000-car Western Canadian grain fleet is comprised of CN-owned hoppers, leased cars and private customer equipment. CN says the new hopper cars will allow the phase-out of older, lower-capacity cars from its fleet, which has an average age of more than 30 years. 

“This substantial investment in higher capacity payload hopper cars, with up to 10 per cent more capacity than the older generation, demonstrates our commitment to safely, efficiently and reliably moving the steadily increasing Prairie grain crop for our customers,” said JJ Ruest, interim president and chief executive officer of CN. “We clearly understand how important having an effective grain supply chain is to our nation’s reputation as a stable trade partner. With this week’s news of regulatory certainty, we can now make decisive long-term investments that will benefit the entire grain industry.” 

The cars will be built by National Steel Car Ltd. at the company’s Hamilton plant. 

“Canada’s grain hopper cars are rolling toward the end of their lives,” said Kyle Jeworski, president and chief executive officer of Viterra. “Over the last several years, Viterra has made significant, targeted investments in its country grain elevator network, and we welcome this major investment and commitment by CN to get Prairie grain to world markets.” 

The company added that it is continuing to hire, with plans to have approximately 1,250 more qualified train conductors in the field before next winter, compared to the number of conductors at the same time last year. 

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