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CN Rail spending a bundle in Ontario

New rail infrastructure, rolling stock and conductors in $315 million capital plan
Sioux Lookout rail yard
CN rail yard in Sioux Lookout

Canadian National Railway announced July 11 it’s spending $315 million on its 2,500-mile rail network in Ontario.

Northwestern Ontario will see some of that investment with Sioux Lookout being the location for a new train passing siding on CN’s transcontinental corridor between Winnipeg and Toronto.

Capital is earmarked for intermodal rail yard expansions to move containers into and out of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), specifically at CN’s Brampton Intermodal Terminal.

Other money is allocated for track maintenance programs including replacement of 90 miles (145 kilometres) of rail, installing 380,000 new railroad ties, and rebuilding 60 road crossing surfaces.

CN is purchasing 350 new box cars and 350 new lumber cars from National Steel Car in Hamilton to meet the demand to move wood products and has 1,000 high-cube grain hopper cars on order over the next two years to replace its aging equipment.

CN has taken delivery of 10 of the 60 new GE locomotives due in service in 2018. The balance of a multi-year, 200-unit order will be brought online in 2019 and 2020.

On the personnel side, they’ll be adding 1,250 new conductors to the workforce before next winter.

“We are investing for the long haul with these projects to boost capacity and network resiliency to meet growing demand across our economy,” said Michael Farkouh, vice-president of CN’s Eastern Region in a statement.

“Our investments in track and intermodal yard capacity combined with new equipment will help us deliver superior service to our customers in Ontario and North America. Additionally, our substantial investments to renew our existing railway infrastructure underscore our commitment to operating safely.”

“These investments will help connect Canadians by improving transportation and will maintain and expand CN's workforce of nearly 4,000 Ontarians,” said federal innovation minister, science and economic development minister Navdeep Bains in a news release.

Premier Doug Ford said the investment speaks for well for job creation and business’ confidence in the province.

"It is particularly good news for the communities, businesses and jobs that depend on our natural resource and manufacturing sectors. I applaud CN for walking the walk and sending a clear signal to the world that it's a great time to invest in our province. Ontario is open for business."