Canadian Pacific Railway’s Expressway service, operating between Milton (Toronto) Ontario and Montreal, will close effective June 1, 2018.
The Iron Highway was originally a rail-based intermodal freight concept developed at New York Air Brake in the mid-1980s and tested by CSX spinoff CSL Intermodal in the early 1990s. The system employed specially designed locomotives located at each end of a string of 196-foot articulated platforms that uncoupled in the middle to deploy built-in ramps for the drive-on, drive-off loading and unloading of truck trailers.
The objective of the Iron Highway concept was to serve standard trailers and containers on chassis that are not reinforced for lift-on/lift-off operations. The principal was to extend the economies of intermodal traffic to the short-haul market—distances as short as 125 miles and no greater than roughly 500.
In 1996, former CP Subsidiary St. Lawrence & Hudson tested the Iron Highway. The service was re-launched and re-named Expressway in 2000, using new rail equipment purchased from National Steel Car to allow drive-on, drive off access for truck trailers, albeit using external, portable ramps.
At its peak, CP’s Expressway service operated four trains each way per day between Detroit and Montreal. However, within the past few years, CP cut service back to one train each way per day and discontinued service between Toronto and Detroit.
Staff at the Expressway Terminal in Milton, Ontario confirmed to Railway Age they are no longer booking trailers as of June 1, as the facility is closing.