CN plans $2.1 billion in rail spending this year

Canadian National Railway will spend more than $2.1 billion this year on rail network upgrades and equipment, says company president Claude Mongeau.

He said the spending will improve safety, efficiency and service to rail shippers.

Mongeau announced Feb. 19 that the company will spend $1.2 billion on track infrastructure, $300 million on locomotives and equipment and $600 million on new facilities, including transloading terminals, distribution centers and the completion of its Calgary Logistics Park project.

The railway will acquire an additional 45 new high horsepower locomotives this year, augmenting the 44 new locomotives and 37 second-hand high horsepower units that were acquired last year, the company said.

CN did not say how much of this year’s capital expenditure budget would be spent in Canada.

“Investments in our network and distribution capability, the acquisition of new locomotives and equipment and the enhancement of information systems and technology will help support our agenda of operational and service excellence,” Mongeau said in a Feb. 19 news release.

“They will help us achieve our goal of becoming a true supply chain enabler and help our customers compete better in their markets. They will also position us to take advantage of business opportunities in intermodal, energy and other resource and manufacturing markets.”

CN’s capital investment program totaled approximately $2 billion last year.

About $100 million of that was invested in CN’s Edmonton-to-Winnipeg corridor to increase rail capacity and support movement of higher volumes of grain and other commodities.

In 2014, CN’s $1.2 billion investment in track infrastructure will result in additional improvements to the productivity and fluidity of the network, the company said.

The track infrastructure investment will pay for the replacement of rail, ties and other track materials, as well as bridge improvements and branch line upgrades.

It will also include funds for strategic initiatives and additional track improvements in Western and Eastern Canada as well as the United States.

The company will also take steps to enhance its system-wide flaw detection capabilities.

CN will also complete construction of two state-of-the-art training facilities this year: one in Winnipeg and the other in suburban Chicago. They will train new employees and strengthen CN’s safety record.

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