CN Sets Grain Record, Preps for Winter

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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CN’s Western Canadian grain movements broke another record in October 2019, with shipments of 2.8 million metric tons (MMT) of grain and processed grain products, the railroad announced on Nov. 4. The previous record, set in April 2019, was 2.7 MMT.

“This fall has been plagued with cold and wet weather, which has negatively affected the pace of grain deliveries, leaving rail capacity significantly under-utilized,” CN said. “Despite harvest delays and international trade restrictions, CN has moved more than 6.7 MMT so far this year.

“We are all part of the same supply chain, and as a railway CN fully understands the impacts that weather can have on the end-to-end supply chain,” said Allen Foster, Vice President of Bulk at CN. “Investment at every step of the supply chain—from producers and grain companies to CN’s investment in new hopper cars, increased network capacity, and a more modern locomotive fleet—all played a role in delivering a record month.”

Winter Plan Released

In a related development, CN has released its 2019-2010 Winter Plan, as required by the provisions of the Canada Transportation Act. “The Plan does two things,” CN noted. ”First, it outlines the challenges CN faces operating in Canadian winter conditions. And second, it sets out the actions and innovations we have implemented to enable us to maintain our operations through the winter at a level acceptable to the needs of all our customers while ensuring we continue to operate in a safe and efficient manner. It serves as a framework to ensure we meet the needs of our customers and stakeholders in the challenging winter months ahead.”

Among the innovations are Air Distribution Cars, CN-modified boxcars containing air compressors and associated equipment. “They
supplement the air supply to the train air brake system, in a similar manner to locomotives under distributed power and with similar benefits,” CN notes the Winter Plan. “The Air Distribution Cars have proven to be one of the most effective innovations in dealing with cold. CN has added 40 cars to our fleet as we prepare for the winter of 2019–20. This brings the total number to approximately 100, five times the number we operated as recently as two years ago. This significant increase will further reduce the impact of cold temperatures in winter and improve service reliability by
enabling CN to maintain train lengths.”

Download the Winter Plan:

Categories: Class I, Freight, Freight Cars, Intermodal, Locomotives, M/W, Mechanical, News Tags: ,