FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – CN Rail has announced that upgrades to its rail infrastructure in the Peace Region are part of the roughly $340 million it says it will be spending across B.C. in 2018 to expand and strengthen its rail network.
The vast majority of upgrades are planned to take place on CN’s main line between Prince Rupert and Jasper, where it will build four new train passing sidings and extending another three. Across B.C., CN says that it will be replacing 115 miles* of rail, installing 335,000 new railroad ties, rebuilding 50 level crossings at intersections with roads, and conducting maintenance work on bridges, culverts, signal systems, and additional track infrastructure.
CN’s Western Canada Media Relations Manager Kate Fenske says that at least seven miles of new rail will be installed on the four subdivisions in the Peace Region in different locations, as well as some work on bridges and culverts. Fenske said that three crossings along the Fort Nelson subdivision between Buick and Fort St. John are scheduled to be rehabilitated. In addition, she said that over 50,000 new rail ties will be installed on various sections of track.
“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. “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.”
In total, CN says that the upgrades in B.C. will cost roughly $340 million, making up approximately 10 percent of the company’s record $3.4 billion capital program for 2018.
“Strong transportation networks are so important to our trade- and resource-based economy in B.C.,” said Val Litwin, president and chief executive officer of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. “We are pleased to see CN making capital investments in B.C. that will expand our rail network, improve rail service to our businesses providing and supporting thousands of jobs across our provincial economy.”
Earlier this year, CN announced plans to acquire 350 new boxcars to serve forest products and metals customers and to purchase 350 new lumber cars to meet growing demand to move wood products. In May, CN announced that it plans to acquire 1,000 new grain hopper cars over the next two years to rejuvenate the ageing equipment needed to serve increasing annual crop yields. In June, the company says it 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.
*All railways in North America operate using miles, not kilometres.