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CN spending $445 million to upgrade B.C. infrastructure

CN spending $445 million to upgrade B.C. infrastructure
CN — A CN train rolls through Skeen, B.C. CN announced it plans to invest more than $400 million in rail infrastructure this year in B.C. alone.

VANCOUVER — CN has announced it intends to spend roughly $445 million expanding its infrastructure in B.C. this year.

The investments including adding track in yards to handle growing traffic, new sidings as well as continued investments in multi-year initiatives to increase capacity at the Port of Vancouver and at the Port of Prince Rupert in collaboration with the Government of Canada, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

The maintenance program will focus on the replacement of rail and ties and maintenance work on level crossings, culverts, signal systems and other track infrastructure.

“We take our essential role in the North American economy seriously and these investments in British Columbia are a key part of our strategy to support growth,” said James Thompson, vice-president of the western region at CN, in a press release. “The company remains committed to help enable supply chains that fuel British Columbia’s growth as we are a critical part of getting everyday goods to markets and consumers.”

Company officials believe the improvements could help efforts to reduce harmful emissions.

CN noted its investments will create greater capacity, which supports reductions in its customers’ transportation supply chain GHG emissions, by encouraging the use of rail for long haul needs.

Officials explained this reduces emissions, traffic congestion, accidents and burdens on public transportation infrastructure as one freight train can replace over 300 trucks from roads.

According to CN, moving freight by rail instead of truck reduces GHG emissions by 75 per cent.

Planned expansion projects include:

  • Construction of about 3.5 miles of double track between Vancouver and Edmonton, near Glen Valley.
  • Building new sidings on the Edmonton to Prince Rupert corridor to increase capacity for growing demand.
  • Continued investments in multi-year infrastructure projects that will increase capacity at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

Maintenance program highlights include:

  • Replacement of more than 100 miles of rail.
  • Installation of over 209,000 new railroad ties.
  • Installation of over 46,000 concrete ties.
  • Rebuilds of 22 road crossing surfaces.

Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau praised the investments.

“Remaining committed to supporting Canadian businesses, our government continues to invest in Canada’s economy to encourage economic growth,” said Garneau in the release. “We are pleased to see companies such as CN do their share by investing in improving safety, growing its capacity and enabling trade through a safe and reliable rail network. Our government has invested to encourage the fluidity of the Western Canadian trade gateway in British Columbia and CN is a key partner in those infrastructure expansions. These investments will continue to enable and support supply chains that make Canada a reliable international trading partner.”

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