Railways bask in the black

Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway reported solid financial results from the first quarter of 2015.

At CP, first quarter revenues reached a record $1.67 billion, up 10 percent over the same period last year.

Net income rose to an all-time quarterly high of $320 million, or $1.92 per share, a year-over-year increase of 33 percent.

At CN, first quarter revenues grew by nearly 15 percent to $3.1 billion, up from $2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2014.

CN’s first quarter net income was reported at $704 million, or 86 cents per diluted share, up from $623 million, or 75 cents per diluted share in the first quarter of 2014.

On April 16, CN also announced a multi-year program to invest $500 million in infrastructure improvements to its western Canadian feeder rail lines in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The improvements will allow CN to handle rising volumes of industrial products, natural resources and energy-related commodities.

CN will spend as much as $100 million this year on upgrades to northern Alberta branch lines.

That work will involve infrastructure upgrades and safety improvements, including heavier rail, crushed rock ballast and new ties, to ensure the network can efficiently accommodate future freight volume growth in the Peace River region, the railway company said.

CN and CP benefited from mild winter weather in the first quarter, a stark contrast to the first quarter of 2014, which delivered some of the harshest winter weather on record across much of Canada.

Contact brian.cross@producer.com

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