CPR invests in intermodal growth

by Canadian Shipper

Canadian Pacific Railway will be investing $36 million to enlarge and improve three key facilities in Toronto, Calgary and Chicago, in order to stay ahead of the relentless demand for more and better intermodal service.

CPR’s 2001 intermodal capital investment plan is a $26-million, 55-per-cent capacity expansion program at its Vaughan Intermodal Facility, in the northern Greater Toronto Area, which is meant to bring capacity up to 350,000 container handlings per year.

CPR will also invest $8 million to expand its Calgary Intermodal Facility two years ahead of schedule. The Calgary terminal, first opened three years ago, will expand capacity to 150,000 handlings annually, from the current 105,000.

A further $1.6 million in improvements at CPR’s Bensenville Yard, in Chicago, will speed the handling of international marine containers originating in or destined for Europe and the Pacific Rim. Intermodal freight is now the biggest revenue generator among CPR’s lines of business, having surpassed grain as well as coal and other bulk commodities.

The Vaughan expansion program includes an empty marine container depot and a wheeled parking area, with its own separate entrance; a reconfigured terminal layout to easily accommodate longer trains; a new 1,524-metre (5,000-foot) track for loading and unloading of containers; extension of two existing tracks to 1,524 metres (5,000 feet); construction of extensive working areas for loading, unloading and storing containers; two toplifters and one rubber tire gantry crane, which can straddle a doublestack container car and two trucks.

Preliminary work began last fall with construction of the empty depot and parking area. All work is expected to be completed by August 30, 2001.

“The lion’s share of the investment is at Vaughan because it is the largest and busiest of the CPR’s 22 intermodal facilities. The smooth and rapid flow of trains and trucks through Vaughan has a positive impact on CPR shippers across Canada, in the U.S. and around the globe. This investment will increase Vaughan’s capacity and traffic flow, putting us ahead of the wave of demand. But if future growth comes more quickly than expected, we still have room,” said Hugh MacDiarmid, the CPR’s Executive Vice-President, Commercial.

When it was opened in 1991, CPR’s Vaughan Intermodal Facility had the capacity for 110,000 container handlings annually. Several expansion programs were required to keep up with the needs of service-sensitive shippers over the past decade. Now, under the current expansion, Vaughan will be equipped for 350,000 handlings annually.

“The Vaughan expansion project will also have a positive effect on our Obico Intermodal Facility, in the south-western part of Toronto. We will be able to shift some east-west traffic to Vaughan and free up capacity at Obico to attract new Canada-U.S. business, taking it off the overloaded trans-border highways. And because Vaughan is such a key gateway for domestic, trans-border and international intermodal traffic, the improvements made here will have a positive effect throughout the entire CPR system,” said MacDiarmid.

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