Program aims to expand and strengthen the province’s rail infrastructure this year
By Kate Ayers
Canadian National Railway (CN) is investing $320 million to improve its rail network throughout Alberta.
The funds are part of CN’s record $3.4-billion capital program for 2018, a company release said on Tuesday.
“CN is making the necessary investments in people, infrastructure and equipment to serve Canada’s agricultural and trade economies” Kate Fenske, CN’s manager of Manitoba public affairs and Western Canada media relations, public and government affairs, said to Farms.com today.
“We are investing for the long haul to meet the growing demands of all of our customers and are committed to moving farmers’ grain over the course of the next crop year.”
Over 30 miles of new double track will be installed in four highly trafficked locations across the province. Rail yard expansions will improve the movement of cars into and out of Edmonton, the release said.
CN will also replace about 130 miles (209 kilometres) of rail, install over 270,000 new railroad ties and rebuild approximately 40 road crossing surfaces.
The replacement and upgrade of track infrastructure will enhance safety and efficiency, the release said.
“I am thrilled to see CN making critical investments in Alberta that will help to grow our economy, create jobs, and ensure Alberta and Western Canadian consumers continue to have access to key markets,” Randy Boissonnault, member of parliament for Edmonton Centre, said in the release.
Indeed, rail access is vital for farmers to get their crops to market.
“It’s great to see CN is making investments geared toward improvement in the rail network and boosting market access for our producers,” Oneil Carlier, Alberta’s minister of agriculture and forestry, said in the release.
Last month, CN announced its two-year plan to acquire 1,000 Canadian-built new generation grain hopper cars to better meet the demand of increasing crop yields, the release said.
CN has also hired around 1,250 new conductors who will start before the winter.
The company will invest $340 million in British Columbia and $130 million in Manitoba.
Updated June 15, 2018