David L. Starling, former President and CEO of Kansas City Southern (KCS; 2010-16) who called railroading “not just a job, but a way of life,” died Feb. 26, 2023. He was 73.
CN retrofits light trucks to run on propane and gas, as part of its transition plan to a low-carbon economy. Also, Union Pacific (UP) debuts new hazmat-response training railcars built at its De Soto, Mo., shop.
Transport Canada confirmed Oct. 31 that state corporation VIA Rail Canada has been shunted aside from its own project to construct and operate an electrified “High Frequency Rail” (HFR) service along the Corridor linking Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto—the only profitable route VIA currently covers.
Tom Linebarger will end his term as CEO of Cummins, effective Aug. 1, with Jennifer Rumsey assuming the role of President and CEO, the company reported July 14. Rumsey will be the first women to serve as leader since Cummins was founded in 1919.
Cynthia Garneau on May 20 gave up VIA Rail Canada leadership with two years remaining in her nominal tenure.
Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada took major hits in the two years since COVID-19 pushed much of the world into lockdown mode. Today, Amtrak’s service recovery has stalled, while VIA Rail is looking forward to something of a comeback under difficult circumstances later this spring; a comeback that has already begun in part.
Flush with cash, as its vast tar sands oil field suddenly lurched from environmental pariah to savior of western civilization, the Alberta government is looking more favorably upon a scheme to build a new, independent passenger railway, connecting Calgary International Airport (YYC) to the Rocky Mountain’s global tourist destination, Banff National Park.
Battered by COVID-19 lockdowns, fatigued rolling stock, fierce competition for station slots and the ubiquitous adoption of alternatives to physical travel, Canada’s publicly owned intercity passenger system is mired in an existential crisis over which it has little or no control. That is the depressing message in VIA Rail’s 2021-2025 Corporate Plan, dated Nov. 5 2021 but never officially announced by way of news release. It resides in an obscure page of the company’s website.
The governments of Canada and British Columbia have established a joint Supply Chain Recovery Working Group to help restore the flow of goods through the province after devastating floods cut off Vancouver from rail and road service on Nov. 16.
If there are no atheists in foxholes, then there should now be no climate skeptics left among Canadian railroaders, as they move rapidly on what they do best: rebuild to keep the trains running.
A glimpse of actual progress teased the passenger rail industry July 6 when the Canadian government unveiled previously obscure details of its long-running High Frequency Rail (HFR) program.
In a desperately irrational move at the end of its term in the winter of 2019, Alberta’s former NDP (New Democratic Party) government tried to defy Economics 101 by dramatically increasing crude-by-rail capacity in order to raise prices. Nobody outside former Premier Rachel Notley’s statist brain trust thought that was a good idea. Especially not the railways: CN and Canadian Pacific both insisted that the government commit to paying the $C3.7 billion contract price, whether or not the trains were needed. In the event, “or not” turned out to be a very wise condition for the railways.
Railway Track & Structures magazine Editor-in-Chief Bill Wilson talks to Mark Taylor, Superintendent of Operations at White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad about the White Pass Loop Project. The White Pass Loop Project is a 2020 RT&S Top Project. All of the top projects will be featured in the May issue of RT&S.
As Canadian First Nations protesters disrupted the flow of freight and passengers across Canada, global mining giant Teck Resources jettisoned a C$20 billion project to squeeze more low-grade crude oil from the vast tar sands of northern Alberta.
On Feb. 6—the second time in less than two months—a Canadian Pacific tank car train carrying Alberta bitumen diluted with highly volatile petroleum gases derailed near the tiny town of Guernsey, Sask. The derailment created an explosive fire and prompted the evacuation of more than 80 nearby residents.
Adding to the flotsam swirling around the once-unsinkable SNC-Lavalin, the engineering company’s credit rating went overboard Aug. 20 when S&P Global Markets downgraded its debt to junk. This followed, by days, the ruling of a federal ethics watchdog that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke conflict-of-interest law when he tried to spare the company from prosecution for bribery.
The Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission (APMC) has signed contracts with CN and Canadian Pacific to utilize 4,400 DOT117 tank cars to transport oilsands crude (bitumen) to U.S. and international markets. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced the plan, which also includes locomotive leases, on Feb. 19.
After months of whining about low market value for its low-grade psuedo-oil, the Alberta government announced in November that it would purchase and operate a vast fleet of 7,000 tank cars and 80 locomotives—arguing, in Canutian defiance of Economics 101, that more supply would push up demand and price. Then, only days later in a panicked and completely opposite action, Alberta imposed production quotas to reduce supply.
While the financially panicked government of Alberta has imposed radio silence on its contentious plan to launch a state-owned fleet of oil trains, CN has teamed with a First Nation to obsolete both tank cars and pipelines in the transportation of bitumen.
Not for Rachel Notley are Festivus, Yule and other neo-pagan solstice celebrations for the politically minded. No, the Alberta Premier clings to Christmas tradition, or more accurately the toy catalog of yore, with its yummy pages of pointlessly looping Lionel trains.