CN announced last week that the company plans to construct five extended sidings on its B.C. North Line in 2012 as part of the company’s multi-year program to expand freight train capacity to handle the growing freight volumes along the Edmonton, Alberta-Prince Rupert, B.C. corridor.
“CN’s sizable investments in rail infrastructure in northern B.C. and western Alberta are helping us accommodate growing import-export traffic moving between the Port of Prince Rupert, the B.C. interior and major centres across CN’s network in Canada and the United States. The investments will also help us better move rising export coal volumes from existing and new mines in the region to Ridley Terminals at Prince Rupert, whose handling capacity is expected to double by the end of 2014 to 24 million tonnes,” started CN executive vice-president ad chief operating officer, Keith Creel.
Sidings allow trains to meet and pass each other on a single track. When two trains going different directions meet on a track, they must some how go around each other. A switch allows one train to go into a siding so that it can meet and go around another train.
The locations of the five sidings that are being extended this year will be east of Prince Rupert, at Exstew, Cedarvale, Morristown, Robin Creek and Cariboo.
“In this area what is needed is to extend the length of the sidings so that they can accommodate 12,000 foot trains,” explained Mark Hallman, CN director of communications and public affairs.
Last year alone there was more than half a million carloads/intermodal units moved over CN’s B.C. North corridor, with these numbers expected to double by 2015.
Since 2004, CN has extended or constructed 21 sidings to handle large trains along the Edmonton and Prince Rupert line, with expansion along the corridor expected to total more than $150 million by the end of this year.