EDMONTON, Alberta, June 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CN (TSX:CNR) (NYSE:CNI) said today it plans to invest $320 million across Alberta in 2018 to expand and strengthen the Company’s rail network throughout the province.

“We are investing for the long haul with these projects to boost capacity and network resiliency to meet growing demand in grain, energy, forest products and other markets so important to Alberta’s economy,” said Doug Ryhorchuk, vice-president of CN’s Western Region. “Our investments in new double track and yard expansions, combined with new equipment and more people, will help us deliver superior service to our customers in Alberta and North America. Additionally, our substantial investments to renew our existing railway infrastructure underscores our commitment to operating safely.”

The Alberta investments are part of CN’s record $3.4 billion capital program for 2018. They include more than 30 miles of new double track in four locations along CN’s busy transcontinental corridor across the province and rail yard expansions that will improve efficient movement of rail cars into and out of Edmonton. Other capital program elements will focus on the replacement, upgrade and maintenance of key track infrastructure to improve overall safety and efficiency.

“I am thrilled to see CN making critical investments in Alberta that will help to grow our economy, create jobs, and ensure that Alberta and Western Canadian consumers continue to have access to key markets,” said Randy Boissonnault, member of parliament for Edmonton Centre.

Planned expansion projects include:

  • Construction of 12 miles of double track west of Edmonton across Parkland County
  • Construction of about seven miles of double track near Wainwright, east of Edmonton
  • Construction of about seven miles of double track near Tofield, east of Edmonton
  • Construction of about 11 miles of double track near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border
  • Installation of a new bypass track at Walker Yard in Edmonton, to increase efficiency of train movements through the yard
  • Building new storage and bypass tracks at Scotford Yard northeast of Edmonton for additional car storage and improved operational efficiency
  • Building new track capacity at CN’s yard in Swan Landing

Maintenance program highlights include:

  • Replacement of approximately 130 miles of rail  
  • Installation of more than 270,000 new railroad ties
  • Rebuilds of approximately 40 road crossing surfaces
  • Maintenance work on bridges, culverts, signal systems and other track infrastructure

CN’s Alberta rail network includes key terminals in Edmonton and Calgary, serving customers in forest products, intermodal, agricultural and energy markets across the province.

"Market access for Alberta producers is important for diversifying our economy, creating jobs, and making life better,” said Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier. “It’s great to see CN is making investments geared toward improvement in the rail network and boosting market access for our producers.”

CN investing for the long haul

Across its network, CN continues to invest in trade-enabling infrastructure and equipment. Earlier this year, CN announced plans to acquire 350 new box cars to serve forest products and metals customers and to purchase 350 new lumber cars to meet growing demand to move wood products. In May, CN announced that it plans to acquire 1,000 Canadian built, new generation, high-cube grain hopper cars over the next two years to rejuvenate the aging equipment needed to serve increasing annual crop yields. This month, CN is taking delivery of the first of 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. 

After adding hundreds of conductors to the field so far this year, CN continues to hire with a particular focus on crews in Western Canada. Approximately 1,250 new qualified conductors will be in the field network wide before next winter, compared to heading into the previous winter.   

CN is also pleased to announce the establishment of a new, two-year Management Trainee Program designed to provide a solid operational background for the railway’s next generation of leaders. Over the course of the program, trainees will learn how CN operates and gain exposure to the Company’s business agenda of operational and service excellence for its customers across North America. Successful graduates will be placed in full-time, permanent management positions aligned with individual educational background and experience.  The first 50 trainees, from both Canada and the United States, will start in July 2018. 

Alberta in numbers:

  • Capital investments: More than $1.2 billion in the last five years
  • Employees: approximately 2,700
  • Railroad route miles operated: 2,522
  • Community partnerships: $695,000 in 2017
  • Local spending: $594 million in 2017
  • Cash taxes paid: $93 million in 2017

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements included in this news release constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and under Canadian securities laws. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The Company cautions that its assumptions may not materialize and that current economic conditions render such assumptions, although reasonable at the time they were made, subject to greater uncertainty. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of terminology such as “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “assumes,” “outlook,” “plans,” “targets,” or other similar words.

Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results or performance of the Company to be materially different from the outlook or any future results or performance implied by such statements. Accordingly, readers are advised not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Important risk factors that could affect the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the effects of general economic and business conditions; industry competition; inflation, currency and interest rate fluctuations; changes in fuel prices; legislative and/or regulatory developments; compliance with environmental laws and regulations; actions by regulators; increases in maintenance and operating costs; security threats; reliance on technology and related cybersecurity risk; trade restrictions or other changes to international trade arrangements; transportation of hazardous materials; various events which could disrupt operations, including natural events such as severe weather, droughts, fires, floods and earthquakes; climate change; labor negotiations and disruptions; environmental claims; uncertainties of investigations, proceedings or other types of claims and litigation; risks and liabilities arising from derailments; timing and completion of capital programs; and other risks detailed from time to time in reports filed by CN with securities regulators in Canada and the United States. Reference should be made to Management’s Discussion and Analysis in CN’s annual and interim reports, Annual Information Form and Form 40-F, filed with Canadian and U.S. securities regulators and available on CN’s website, for a description of major risk factors.

Forward-looking statements reflect information as of the date on which they are made. CN assumes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect future events, changes in circumstances, or changes in beliefs, unless required by applicable securities laws. In the event CN does update any forward-looking statement, no inference should be made that CN will make additional updates with respect to that statement, related matters, or any other forward-looking statement.

CN is a true backbone of the economy whose team of approximately 25,000 railroaders transports more than C$250 billion worth of goods annually for a wide range of business sectors, ranging from resource products to manufactured products to consumer goods, across a rail network of approximately 20,000 route-miles spanning Canada and mid-America. CN – Canadian National Railway Company, along with its operating railway subsidiaries – serves the cities and ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the metropolitan areas of Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis., and Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America. For more information about CN, visit the Company’s website at www.cn.ca.

CN Contacts: 
MediaInvestors
Kate FenskePaul Butcher
ManagerVice-President
Media RelationsInvestor Relations
(204) 934-8388(514) 399-0052
  
Community 
Tom Smith  
Community Affairs Lead, Alberta 
(780) 472-3732