CN invests in more extended sidings in N. Ontario to improve system velocity, productivity

by Canadian Shipper

TORONTO, Ont. — CN has announced plans to construct two more extended sidings on its Northern Ontario main line this year, bringing its investments in seven long sidings in this corridor to more than $30 million. Two additional extended sidings, costing a total of $10 million, are planned for this main line in 2012.

“CN’s main line through Northern Ontario is a critical link in our transcontinental network connecting Central, Eastern and Western Canada,” said Keith Creel, executive vice-president and chief operating officer. “The strategic investments in longer sidings will help to further increase our ability to process freight trains efficiently across this line, enhance network velocity and productivity, and improve the safety of operations.”

CN’s longer sidings program is creating sidings of 12,000 to 13,000 feet long from sidings that were previously 6,000 to 7,000 feet in length.

CN’s main line through Northern Ontario sees an average of 14 freight trains daily, including intermodal trains between Toronto, the principal cities of Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary, and the west coast ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

Officials say extended sidings allow CN to maximize the benefits of its longer-train operating plan in main-line corridors across its system. These more efficient trains are equipped with distributed power (DP) technology, which permits remote control of a locomotive or locomotives throughout a train from the lead control locomotive. DP is designed to provide faster, smoother train starts, improved braking and lower pulling forces at the head-end of a train, and improved safety. With more optimum matching of motive power to train weight, DP locomotives also allow CN to reduce fuel consumption and reduce emissions.

CN’s infrastructure improvements to date in Northern Ontario permit the highest average freight train speeds on its entire system – as high as 40 miles per hour. And those investments, along with DP locomotive technology, significantly improve winter operations in the region.

CN’s Northern Ontario siding investments are part of the company’s C$1.7-billion 2011 capital expenditure program to maintain a safe and fluid railway network, to grow the business efficiently and to continue to provide customers with a high level of service.

Creel said: “These extended siding investments in the almost 1,200-mile corridor between Toronto and Winnipeg will help CN deliver greater supply chain efficiencies. CN is committed to greater productivity and service innovation to help our customers compete better in their markets.”

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