Canadian National Railway

3.4348063284224 (1833)
Posted by motoman 03/19/2009 @ 12:16

Tags : canadian national railway, railroads, transportation, business

News headlines
Refresh: Kaukauna moving ahead with plans to buy land from ... - Wrightstown Post Gazette
In December, a Kaukauna committee working on a $12 million expansion project of the municipal services building drew up an offer for 3 acres of land owned by Canadian National Railway. City leaders said the strip of railroad land, across from the...
Community officials hail rail sale - Brookhaven Daily Leader
The line was recently sold to Natchez Railway by Canadian National Railway, which sold a total of 252 miles of track in Mississippi. Brumfield said the line has been "instrumental" in previous industrial recruitment efforts and the development of...
Suburban leaders seek help from Obama in rail traffic fight - Chicago Tribune
The board in December approved the Canadian National Railway's acquisition of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern line through their suburbs. Canadian National purchased the line to divert freight traffic around Chicago's congested rail corridor....
WOODHAVEN: Jet fuel transfer station put on hold while company ... - Southgate News Herald
By Francesca Chilargi WOODHAVEN — Canadian National Railway has postponed its site plan application for a jet fuel transfer station after residents and elected officials raised concerns. On Tuesday, the city's Planning Commission deferred the public...
Canadian National Railway Fails to Report Known EJ&E Problems - PR Newswire (press release)
CHICAGO , May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Regional Answer to Canadian National (TRAC) has filed comments with the US Surface Transportation Board (STB) detailing numerous incidents Canadian National Railway (CN) failed to account for in its mandated monthly...
Local lawmakers lobby Obama on STB post - Geneva Sun
The STB oversees all rail transactions in the United States. In December, the three-member board approved the $300 million sale of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern rail line to Canadian National Railway Company, a deal opposed by legislators from the Fox...
Trains block tracks in suburbs: CN underreported delays at rail ... - Chicago Tribune
By Richard Wronski | Tribune reporter The Canadian National Railway failed to disclose all the excessive delays and accidents that occurred earlier this year at its suburban grade crossings, a coalition of towns has charged....
Elgin reaches agreement with Canadian National Railway - Fox Valley Villages Sun
By MIKE DANAHEY ELGIN -- Canadian National Railway has reached an agreement with the city of Elgin, addressing officials' concerns about CN's acquisition in January of the former Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Co....
Canadian National Railway (CNI) NewsBite - CNI Upgraded By JP Morgan - Market Intelligence Center
Canadian National Railway (CNI) was upgraded today by analysts at JP Morgan and the stock is now at $41.87, up $1.45 (3.59%) on volume of 1207527 shares traded. The analysts upgraded CNI to Overweight from Neutral. Over the last 52 weeks the stock has...
Senger, Holmes push for federal railway protection - Naperville Sun
Linda Holmes, D-Plainfield, along with a group of state legislators and mayors throughout the Chicago suburbs at a press conference Wednesday to protect the interests of communities affected by the Canadian National Acquisition of the Elgin,...

Canadian National Railway

System map

The Canadian National Railway (reporting mark CN) is a Canadian Class I railway operated by the Canadian National Railway Company headquartered in Montreal, Quebec.

CN is the largest railway in Canada, in terms of both revenue and the physical size of its rail network and is currently Canada's only transcontinental railway company, spanning Canada from the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia to the Pacific coast in British Columbia. Following CN's purchase of Illinois Central (IC) and a number of smaller US railways it also has extensive trackage in the central United States along the Mississippi River valley from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

The railway was referred to as the Canadian National Railways (CNR) between 1918 and 1960 and as Canadian National/Canadien National (CN) from 1960 to present.

The Canadian National Railway is a public company with 22,000 employees and market capitalization of 21 billion USD in 2008.

The Canadian National Railways (CNR) was created between 1918 and 1923, comprising several railways that had become bankrupt and fallen into federal government hands, along with some railways already owned by the government. In 1995, the federal government privatized CN. Over the next decade, the company expanded significantly in the United States, purchasing Illinois Central Railroad and Wisconsin Central Transportation, among others. Now primarily a freight railway, CN also operated passenger services until 1978, when they were assumed by VIA Rail. The only passenger services run by CN after 1978 were several mixed trains (freight and passenger) in Newfoundland, and a couple of commuter trains on CN's electrified routes in the Montreal area. The Newfoundland mixed trains lasted until 1988, while the Montreal commuter trains are now operated by Montreal's AMT.

In response to public concerns fearing loss of key transportation links, the Government of Canada assumed majority ownership of the near bankrupt Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) on September 6, 1918, and appointed a "Board of Management" to oversee the company. At the same time, CNoR was also directed to assume management of Canadian Government Railways (CGR), a system comprised of the Intercolonial Railway of Canada (IRC), National Transcontinental Railway (NTR), and the Prince Edward Island Railway (PEIR), among others. On December 20, 1918, the federal government created the Canadian National Railways (CNR) - a title only with no corporate powers - through a Privy Council order as a means to simplify the funding and operation of the various railway companies. The absorption of the Intercolonial Railway would see CNR adopt that system's slogan The People's Railway.

Another Canadian railway, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTPR), encountered financial difficulty on March 7, 1919, when its parent company Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) defaulted on repayment of construction loans to the federal government. The federal government's Department of Railways and Canals took over operation of the GTPR until July 12, 1920, when it too was placed under the CNR. The Canadian National Railway was organized on October 10, 1922.

Finally, the bankrupt GTR itself was placed under the care of a federal government "Board of Management" on May 21, 1920, while GTR management and shareholders opposed to nationalization took legal action. After several years of arbitration, the GTR was absorbed into CNR on January 30, 1923. In subsequent years, several smaller independent railways would be added to the CNR as they went bankrupt, or it became politically expedient to do so, however the system was more or less finalized following the addition of the GTR.

Canadian National Railways was born out of both wartime and domestic urgency. Railways, until the rise of the personal automobile and creation of taxpayer-funded all-weather highways, were the only viable long-distance land transportation available in Canada for many years. As such, their operation consumed a great deal of public and political attention. Many countries regard railway networks as critical infrastructure (even to this day) and at the time of the creation of CNR during the continuing threat of the First World War, Canada was not the only country to engage in railway nationalization.

In the early 20th century, many governments were taking a more interventionist role in the economy, foreshadowing the influence of economists like John Maynard Keynes. This political trend, combined with broader geo-political events, made nationalization an appealing choice for Canada. The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 and allied involvement in the Russian Revolution seemed to validate the continuing process. The need for a viable rail system was paramount in a time of civil unrest and foreign military intervention.

In 1923 CNR's first president, Sir Henry Thornton, created the CNR Radio Department in order to provide passengers with radio reception in order to keep them entertained during their passage and in order to give the railway a competitive advantage over its rival, Canadian Pacific. This led to the creation of a network of CNR radio stations across the country, North America's first radio network. As anyone in the vicinity of a station could hear its broadcasts the network's audience extended far beyond train passengers to the public at large.

Claims of unfair competition from Canadian Pacific as well as pressure on the government to create a public broadcasting system similar to the British Broadcasting Corporation led the government of R.B. Bennett (who had been a corporate lawyer with Canadian Pacific as a client prior to entering politics) to pressure CNR into ending its on-train radio service in 1931 and then withdrawing from the radio business entirely in 1933. CNR's radio assets were sold for $50,000 to a new public broadcaster, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, which in turn became the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1936.

Canadian railways built and operated their own resort hotels, obstensibly in order to provide rail passengers travelling long distances a place to sleep overnight. These hotels became attractions in and of themselves - a place for a rail passenger to go for a holiday. As each railway company sought to be more attractive than its competitors, they each attempted to make their hotels more attractive and luxurious.

Canadian National Hotels was the CNRs chain of hotels and was a combination of hotels inherited by the CNR when it acquired various railways and structures built by the CNR itself. The chain's principal rival was Canadian Pacific Hotels.

Regardless of the political and economic importance of railway transportation in Canada; there were many critics of the Canadian government's policies in maintaining CNR as a Crown corporation from its inception in 1918 until its privatization in 1995. Some of the most scathing criticism came from the railway industry itself, namely the commercially successful Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) which argued that its taxes should not be used to fund a competitor. Some argue that the CPR could afford to make this criticism, having been itself the child of government and recipient of untold wealth by virtue of land and resource grants, as well as its position as a monopoly from its completion in 1885 until the CNoR started operations on the Prairies at the turn of the century.

As a result of history and geography, CPR served larger population centres in the southern prairies, while the CNR's merged system served as a de-facto government colonization railway to serve remote and underdeveloped regions of Western Canada, northern Ontario and Quebec, and the Maritimes.

Also, CN was disadvantaged by being constituted from a hodge-podge of bankrupt rail systems that were not intrinsically viable, as they seldom had the shortest route between any major cities or industrial centres; to this day, CN has many division points far from significant industries or traffic sources. The only notable exception to this sorry state of affairs is the former Grand Trunk mainline between Montreal and Chicago.

The company also became a convenient instrument of federal government policy from the operation of ferries in Atlantic Canada, to assuming the operation of the narrow-gauge Newfoundland Railway following that province's entry into Confederation, and the partnership with CPR in purchasing and operating the Northern Alberta Railways.

It is generally accepted that government policy dictated CNR commercial decisions, whether such decisions were in the nation's interest, or in the political interest of the party in power. As such, CNR lost money for many years, except during the Second World War when its extensive network reaching into the resource hinterland proved beneficial, and during the late 1980s and early 1990s following deregulation of the Canadian railway industry. Where CNR failed to address costs was largely due to government interference, such as the requirement to purchase locomotives from all Canadian locomotive manufacturers, resulting in operational inefficiencies.

CNR was considered to be competitive with CPR in several areas, notably in Central Canada, prior to the age of the automobile and the dense highway network that grew in Ontario and Quebec. The former GTR's superior track network in the Montreal–Chicago corridor has always been a more direct route with higher capacity than CPR's. CNR was also considered a railway industry leader throughout its time as a Crown corporation in terms of research and development into railway safety systems, logistics management, and in terms of its relationship with labour unions.

Another problem that hobbled CNR was in the sheer number of low-volume branch railway lines which did not produce sufficient traffic to pay for their operation. Without deregulation in the railway industry permitting abandonment or sale of a railway line, or even the ability to set prices to match those of trucks, both CNR and CPR paid dearly for owning these inefficient lines. One tactic that CNR perfected was to demarket a line by providing sufficiently poor service to its few customers, that those customers would turn to trucks for improved service and lower costs. Once customers ceased to exist on a small branch line, the federal government would permit the line's abandonment. Had deregulation been in place several decades earlier, it is conceivable that many Canadian branch lines would have been viable in the hands of short line operators, saving millions of dollars for taxpayers funding highways, since the railway lines had already been publicly funded in their construction.

From the creation of CNR in 1918 until its recapitalization in 1978, whenever the company posted a deficit, the federal government would assume those costs in the government budget. The result of various governments using CNR as a vehicle for various social and economic policies was a subsidization running into billions of dollars over successive decades. Following its 1978 recapitalization and changes in management, CN (name changed to Canadian National Railway, using the shortened acronym CN in 1960) started to operate much more efficiently, by assuming its own debt, improving accounting practices to allow depreciation of assets and to access financial markets for further capital. Now operating as a for-profit Crown corporation, CN reported a profit in 11 of the 15 years from 1978 to 1992, paying $371 million in cash dividends (profit) to the federal government during this time.

CN's rise to profitability was assisted when the company started to remove itself from non-core freight rail transportation starting in 1977 when subsidiary Air Canada (created in 1937 as Trans-Canada Air Lines) became a separate federal Crown corporation. That same year saw CN move its ferry operations into a separate Crown corporation named CN Marine, followed similarly by the grouping of passenger rail services (for marketing purposes) under the name VIA-CN. The following year (1978), the federal government decided to create VIA Rail as a separate Crown corporation to take over passenger services previously offered by both CN and CPR, including CN's flagship transcontinental train the Super Continental and its eastern counterpart the Ocean. CN Marine was renamed Marine Atlantic in 1986 to remove any references to its former parent organization. CN also grouped its money-losing Newfoundland operations into a separate subsidiary called Terra Transport so that federal subsidies for this service would be more visible in company statements.

CN also divested itself during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s of several non-rail transportation activities such as trucking subsidiaries, a hotel chain (sold to CPR), real estate, and telecommunications companies. The biggest telecommunications property was a company which was co-owned by CN and CP (CNCP Telecommunications) which originated out of a joint venture involving the railways' respective telegraph services. Upon its sale in the 1980s, was successively renamed Unitel (United Telecommunications), AT&T Canada, and Allstream as it went through various owners and branding agreements. Another more-famous telecommunications property wholly-owned and built by CN was the CN Tower in Toronto which still keeps its original name but was divested by the railway company in the mid 1990s. All the proceeds from such sales were used to pay down CN's accumulated debt. At the time of their divestitures, all of these subsidiaries required considerable subsidies which partly explained CN's financial problems prior to recapitalization.

CN also was given free rein by the federal government following deregulation of the railway industry in the 1970s, as well as in 1987, when railway companies began to make tough business decisions by removing themselves from operating money-losing branch lines. In CN's case, some of these branch lines were those which it had been forced to absorb through federal government policies and outright patronage, while others were from the heady expansion era of rural branchlines in the 1920s and early 1930s and were considered obsolete following the development of local road networks.

During the period starting in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, thousands of kilometres of railway lines were abandoned, including the complete track networks in Newfoundland (CN subsidiary Terra Transport, the former Newfoundland Railway ended railway freight operations and mixed fright-passenger trains in 1988. Mainline Passenger rail service in Newfoundland ended in 1969.) and Prince Edward Island (the former PEIR), as well as numerous branch lines in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Southern Ontario, throughout the Prairie provinces, in the British Columbia interior, and on Vancouver Island. Virtually every rural area served by CN in some form was affected, creating resentment for the company and the federal government. Many of these now-abandoned rights-of-way were divested by CN and the federal government and have since been converted into recreational trails by local municipalities and provincial governments.

CN's railway network in the late 1980s consisted of the company's Canadian trackage, along with the following U.S. subsidiary lines: Grand Trunk Western Railroad (GTW) operating in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois; Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad (DTI) operating in Michigan and Ohio; Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway (DWP) operating in Minnesota; Central Vermont Railway (CV) operating down the Connecticut River valley from Quebec to Long Island Sound; and a former GT line to Portland, Maine, known informally as the Grand Trunk Eastern, sold to a short line operator in 1989.

The US subsidiaries kept their identities due to their ownership. Technically, foreign governments were not allowed to own railroads in the US. However, a railroad owned by another railroad was allowed to operate, regardless as to if that "other railroad" was owned by a foreign government.

In 1992 a new management team led by ex-federal government bureaucrats, Paul Tellier and Michael Sabia, started preparing CN for privatization by emphasizing increased productivity. This was achieved largely through aggressive cuts to the company's bloated and inefficient management structure, widescale layoffs in its workforce and continued abandonment or sale of its branch lines. In 1993 and 1994 the company experimented with a rebranding that saw the names CN, Grand Trunk Western, and Duluth, Winnipeg, and Pacific replaced under a collective CN North America moniker. During this time, CPR and CN entered into negotiations regarding a possible merger of the two companies. This was later rejected by the federal government, whereby CPR offered to purchase outright all of CN's lines from Ontario to Nova Scotia, while an unidentified U.S. railroad (rumoured to have been Burlington Northern Railroad) would purchase CN's lines in western Canada. This too was rejected. In 1995, the entire company including its U.S. subsidiaries reverted to using CN exclusively.

The CN Commercialization Act was enacted into law on July 13, 1995 and by November 28, 1995, the federal government had completed an initial public offering (IPO) and transferred all of its shares to private investors. Two key prohibitions in this legislation include, 1) that no individual or corporate shareholder may own more than 15% of CN, and 2) that the company's headquarters must remain in Montreal, thus maintaining CN as a Canadian corporation.

Following the successful IPO, CN has recorded impressive gains in its stock price, largely through an aggressive network rationalization and purchase of newer more fuel-efficient locomotives. Numerous branch lines were shed during the late 1990s across Canada, resulting in dozens of independent short line railway companies being established to operate former CN track which had been considered marginal. This network rationalization resulted in a core east-west freight railway stretching from Halifax to Chicago and Toronto to Vancouver and Prince Rupert. The railway also operated trains from Winnipeg to Chicago using trackage rights for part of the route south of Duluth.

In addition to the retraction in Canada, the company also expanded in a strategic north-south direction in the central United States. In 1998, during an era of mergers in the U.S. railway industry, CN purchased the Illinois Central Railroad (IC), which connected the already existing lines from Vancouver, British Columbia to Halifax, Nova Scotia with a line running from Chicago, Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana. This single purchase of IC transformed CN's entire corporate focus from being an east-west uniting presence within Canada (sometimes to the detriment of logical business models) into a north-south NAFTA railway (in reference to the North American Free Trade Agreement. CN is now feeding Canadian raw material exports into the U.S. heartland and beyond to Mexico through a strategic alliance with Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS).

In 1999, CN and Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), the second largest rail system in the U.S., announced their intent to merge, forming a new corporate entity North American Railways to be headquartered in Montreal to conform with the CN Commercialization Act of 1995. The merger announcement by CN's Paul Tellier and BNSF's Robert Krebs was greeted with skepticism by the U.S. government's Surface Transportation Board (STB), and protested by other major North American rail companies, namely Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Union Pacific Railroad (UP). Rail customers also denounced the proposed merger, following the confusion and poor service sustained in southeastern Texas in 1998 following UP's purchase of Southern Pacific Railroad (SP). In response to the rail industry, shippers, and political pressure, the STB placed a 15-month moratorium on all rail industry mergers, effectively scuttling CN-BNSF plans. Both companies dropped their merger applications and have never refiled. The roadblock dates back to the Carnegie era "robber barons" when the concept of "anti-trust" was born. Therefore, when it comes to railroad mergers, the federal government is more rigid than usual.

After the STB moratorium expired, CN purchased Wisconsin Central (WC) in 2001, which allowed the company's rail network to encircle Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, permitting more efficient connections from Chicago to western Canada. The deal also included Canadian WC subsidiary Algoma Central Railway (ACR), giving access to Sault Ste. Marie and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The purchase of Wisconsin Central also made CN the owner of EWS, the principal freight train operator in the United Kingdom.

On May 13, 2003, the provincial government of British Columbia announced that the provincial Crown corporation, BC Rail (BCR), would be sold with the winning bidder receiving BCR's surface operating assets (locomotives, cars, and service facilities). The provincial government is retaining ownership of the tracks and right-of-way. On November 25, 2003, it was announced that CN's bid of $1 billion CAD would be accepted over those of CPR and several U.S. companies. The transaction was closed effective July 15, 2004. Many opponents – including CPR – accused the government and CN of rigging the bidding process, though this has been denied by the government. Documents relating to the case are under court seal, as they are connected to a parallel marijuana grow-op investigation connected with two senior government aides also involved in the sale of BC Rail.

Also contested was the economic stimulus package that the government gave the cities along the BC Rail route – some saw it as a buy-off done in order to get the municipalities to cooperate with the lease, though the government has asserted that the package was intended to promote economic development along the corridor. Passenger service along the route had been ended by BC Rail a few years earlier due to ongoing losses resulting from deteriorating service. The cancelled passenger service has recently been replaced by a blue-plate tourist service, the Rocky Mountaineer, with fares well over double what the BCR coach fares had been.

CN also announced in October 2003 an agreement to purchase Great Lakes Transportation (GLT), a holding company owned by Blackstone Group for $380 million USD. GLT was the owner of Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway, and the Pittsburgh & Conneaut Dock Company. The key instigator for the deal was the fact that since the Wisconsin Central purchase, CN was required to use Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway trackage rights for a short 17 km (11 mi) "gap" that existed near Duluth, Minnesota on the route between Chicago and Winnipeg. In order to purchase this short section, CN was told by GLT that it would have to purchase the entire company. Also included in GLT's portfolio were 8 Great Lakes vessels for transporting bulk commodities such as coal and iron ore as well as various port facilities. Following Surface Transportation Board approval for the transaction, CN completed the purchase of GLT on May 10, 2004.

On December 24, 2008, the STB approved CN's purchase for $300 million of the principal lines of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E) from US Steel Corp originally announced on September 27, 2007. The STB's decision was to become effective on Jan. 23, 2009, with a closure of the transaction shortly thereafter. The EJ&E lines create a bypass around the western side of heavily congested Chicago-area rail hub and its conversion to use for mainline freight traffic is expected to alleviate substantial bottlenecks for both regional and intercontinental rail traffic subject to lengthy delays entering and exiting Chicago freight yards. The purchase of the lightly used EJ&E corridor was positioned by CN as a boon not only for its own business but for the efficiency of the entire US rail system.

Since the company operates in two countries, CN maintains some corporate distinction by having its U.S. lines incorporated under the Grand Trunk Corporation for legal purposes , however the entire company in both Canada and the U.S. operates under CN, as can be seen in its locomotive and rail car repainting programs.

Since the IC purchase in 1998 CN has been increasingly focused on running a "scheduled freight railroad/railway", meeting on-time performance with rail industry-leading consistency. This has resulted in improved shipper relations, as well as reduced the need for maintaining pools of surplus locomotives and freight cars. CN has also undertaken a rationalization of its existing track network by removing double track sections in some areas and extending passing sidings in other areas.

CN is also a rail industry leader in the employment of radio-control (R/C) for switching locomotives in yards, to the detriment of employees since this results in reductions to the number of yard workers required. CN has frequently been touted in recent years within North American rail industry circles as being the most-improved railroad in terms of productivity and the lowering of its operating ratio, acknowledging the fact that the company is becoming increasingly profitable.

In December 1999 the Ultratrain, a petroleum products unit train linking the Saint-Romuald (Quebec) Ultramar oil refinery with a petroleum depot in Montreal, exploded when it derailed and collided with a freight train travelling in the opposite direction between Sainte-Madeleine and Saint-Hilaire-Est, south of Montreal, killing the crew of the freight train. The train derailed at a broken rail caused by a defective weld; The report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada called into question CN's quality assurance program for rail welds as well as the lack of detection equipment for defective wheels. In memory of the dead crewmen, two new stations on the line have been named after them (Davis and Thériault).

On May 14, 2003, a trestle collapsed under the weight of a freight train near McBride, B.C., killing both crew members. Both men had been disciplined earlier for refusing to take another train on the same bridge, claiming it was unsafe. revealed that as far back as 1999, several bridge components had been reported as rotten, yet no repairs had been ordered by management. Eventually, the disciplinary records of both crewmen were amended posthumously.

Controversy arose again in Canadian political circles in 2003 following the company's decision to refer solely to its acronym "CN" and not "Canadian National", a move some interpret as being an attempt to distance the company from references to "Canada", particularly in the United States, where Canada's decision to not participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was unpopular. Canada's Minister of Transport at the time called this policy move "obscene" after nationalists noted it could be argued the company is no longer Canadian, being primarily owned by American stockholders. The controversy is somewhat tempered by the fact that a majority of large corporations are being increasingly referred to by acronyms. Despite this, the company is still legally called the Canadian National Railway.

In March 2004 a strike by the Canadian Auto Workers union showed deep-rooted divisions between organized labour and the company's current management.

The residents of Wabamun Lake, in Alberta, staged a blockade of CN tracks in August 2005, when they were unsatisfied with CN's response to a fuel oil spill into the lake from the derailment of a freight train. It was resolved five hours later when CN officials met with the residents.

On August 5, 2005, a CN train had nine cars derail on a bridge over the Cheakamus River, causing 41,000 litres (9,000 Canadian gal, 11,000 US gal) of caustic soda to spill into the river. The CBC has stated that it could take the river as long as 50 years to recover from the toxic pollution. The Cheakamus River used to have a vibrant fishing tourism industry which now faces an uncertain future. CN is facing accusations from local British Columbians over the rail line's supposed lack of response to this issue, touted as the worst chemical spill in British Columbia's history.

Transport Canada has restricted CN to trains not exceeding 80 car lengths because of the multiple derailments on the former BCR line north from Squamish. CN had been allegedly running trains in excess of 150 cars on this winding and mountainous section of track.

A further derailment at Moran, twenty miles north of Lillooet, on June 30, 2006, has raised more questions about CN's safety policies. Two more derailments, days apart, near Lytton in August 2006 have continued criticism. In the first case, 20 coal cars of a CPR train using a CN bridge derailed, dumping 12 cars of coal into the Thompson River. In the second case half a dozen grain cars spilled on a CN train.

Two CN trains collided on August 4, 2007, on the banks of the Fraser River near Prince George, BC. Several cars carrying gasoline, diesel and lumber burst into flames. Water bombers were used to help put out the fires. Some fuel had seeped into the Fraser River.

On December 4, 2007, a CN train derailed near Edmonton in Strathcona County, Alberta, at 3:30 a.m Mountain Standard Time. Of the 28 cars derailed, most of them were empty or carrying non-hazardous materials such as lumber or pipes.

In response to such high-profile derailments, the federal minister of transportation created an advisory panel to review the Railway Safety Act in February 2007. The panel's report in March 2008 identified a culture of fear and discipline at CN in particular that undermines the safety management system that was introduced in 2001 to give rail companies more responsibility over safety.

The goal of the safety management system was to move away from a compliance approach and toward a proactive approach in which companies assess and mitigate risks on their own initiative. The concept as applied to railways was born during the 1994 review of the Railway Safety Act and amendments to act were introduced in 1999 that added requirements for railway companies to develop and implement safety management systems.

The panel cited the example of passenger rail company Via Rail to illustrate a safety culture needed for SMS. Via's implementation of SMS is successful because the company makes safety management important to all employees. While there are certain cardinal rules that lead to disciplinary action if broken, Via also has processes to build openness and trust between managers and employees. "For instance, employees are observed at regular cycles, and corrective coaching takes place immediately when errors are observed," the panel report noted.

Current members of the board of directors of the company are: Michael Ralph Armellino, A. Charles Baillie, Hugh J. Bolton, Purdy Crawford, J.V. Raymond Cyr, Gordon D. Giffin, James K. Gray, E. Hunter Harrison, Edith E. Holiday, V. Maureen Kempston Darkes, Robert H. Lee, Denis Losier, Edward C. Lumley, David McLean (chairman), and Robert Pace.

When CNR was first created, it inherited a large number of routes from its constituent railways, but eventually pieced its passenger network into one coherent network. For example, on December 3, 1920, CNR inaugurated the Continental Limited, which operated over four of its predecessors, as well as the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway. The 1920s saw growth in passenger travel, and CNR inaugurated several new routes and introduced new services, such as radio, on its trains.

The growth in passenger travel ended with the Great Depression, which lasted between 1929 and 1939, but picked up somewhat during World War II. By the end of World War II, many of CNR's passenger cars were old and worn down. Accidents at Dugald, Manitoba in 1947 and Canoe River, British Columbia in 1950, wherein extra passenger trains comprised of older equipment collided with transcontinental passenger trains comprised of somewhat newer equipment, demonstrated the dangers inherent in the older cars. In 1953, CNR ordered 359 lightweight passenger cars, allowing them to re-equip their major routes.

On April 24, 1955, the same day that the CPR introduced its transcontinental train The Canadian, CNR introduced its own new transcontinental passenger train, the Super Continental, which used new streamlined rolling stock. However, the Super Continental was never considered to be as glamorous as the Canadian. For example, it did not include dome cars. Dome cars would be added in the early 1960s with the purchase of six former Milwaukee Road "Super Domes." They were used on the Super Continental during the Summer tourist season.

Rail passenger traffic in Canada declined significantly between World War II and 1960 due to automobiles and airplanes. In the 1960s, CN's privately-owned rival CPR reduced its passenger services significantly. However, the government-owned CN continued much of its passenger services and marketed new schemes, such as the "red, white and blue" fare structure, to bring passengers back to rail.

In 1968, CN introduced a new high-speed train, the United Aircraft Turbo, which was powered by gas turbines instead of diesel engines. It made the trip between Toronto and Montreal in four hours, but was not entirely successful because it was somewhat uneconomical and not always reliable. The trainsets were retired in 1982 and later scrapped at Naporano Iron and Metal in New Jersey.

In 1976, CN created an entity called VIA-CN as a separate operating unit for its passenger services. VIA evolved into a coordinated marketing effort with CP Rail for rail passenger services, and later into a separate Crown corporation responsible for inter-city passenger services in Canada. VIA Rail took over CN's passenger services on April 1, 1978. CN continued to fund its commuter rail services in Montreal until 1982, when the Montreal Urban Community Transit Commission (MUCTC) assumed financial responsibility for them; operation was contracted out to CN, which eventually spun-off a separate subsidiary, Montrain for this purpose. When the Montreal–Deux-Montagnes line was completely rebuilt in 1994-1995, the new rolling stock came under the ownership of the MUCTC, until a separate government agency, the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) was set up to consolidate all suburban transit administration around Montreal. Since then, suburban service has resumed to Saint-Hilaire.

On CN's narrow gauge lines in Newfoundland, CN also operated a main line passenger train that ran from St. John's to Port aux Basque called the Caribou. Nicknamed the Newfie Bullett, this train ran until June 1969. It was replaced by the CN Roadcruiser Buses. The CN Roadcruiser service was started in Fall 1968 and was run in direct competition with the company's own passenger train. Travelers saw that the buses could travel between St. John's and Port aux Basque in 14 hours versus the trains 22 hours.

With the demise of the Caribou in June 1969, the only passenger train service run by CN on the island were the mixed (freight and passenger) trains that ran on the Bonivista, Carbonear and Argentia branch lines. The only passenger service surviving on the main line was between Bishop's Falls and Corner Brook. Terra Transport would continue to operate the mixed trains on the branch lines until 1984. The main line run between Corner Brook and Bishops falls made its last run on September 30, 1988.

Terra Transport/CN would run the Roadcruiser bus service until March 29, 1996. The Bus service was sold off to DRL Coachlines of Triton, Newfoundland.

Since acquiring the Algoma Central Railway in 2001, CN has operated passenger service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, Ontario. As well, CN operates the Agawa Canyon Tour excursion, an excursion that runs from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario north to the Agawa Canyon. The canyon tour train consists of up to 28 passenger cars and 2 dining cars, the majority of which were built for CN by Canadian Car and Foundry in 1953-54. These cars were transferred to VIA Rail in 1978 and bought by the Algoma Central Railway in the 1990s. A "Snow Train" tour is also offered during the fall and winter season.

Since CN acquired BC Rail in 2004, it has operated a railbus service between Seton Portage and Lillooet, British Columbia.

The CNR acquired its first 4-8-4 Confederation locomotives in 1927. Over the next 20 years, it ordered over 200 for passenger and heavy freight service. The CNR also used several 4-8-2 Mountain locomotives, almost exclusively for passenger service. No. 6060, a streamlined 4-8-2, was the last CN steam locomotive, running in excursion service in the 1970s. CNR also used several 2-8-2 Mikado locomotives.

Electrification was restricted to Montreal, and went from Central Station to Saint-Lambert (south), Turcot (west) and Saint-Eustache-sur-le-lac, later renamed Deux-Montagnes, (north). But as steam locomotives gave way to diesels, engine changeovers were no longer necessary, and catenary was eventually pulled from the west and from the south. However until the end of the original electrification, CN's electric locomotives pulled VIA Rail's trains, including its diesel electric locomotives, to and from Central Station.

The last 2,400 V DC CN electric locomotive ran on June 6, 1995, the very same locomotive that pulled the inaugural train through the Mount Royal Tunnel back in 1918. Later in 1995 the AMT's Electric Multiple Units began operating under 25 kV AC electrification.

This CN Loco SD40-2W No.5246 is heading away from Battle Creek Mi on 7/13/08.

This GP9 CN locomotive No. 4618 (with Grand Trunk Western reporting mark) is sitting at siding in Pavilion, MI, on April 4, 2008.

This SD70M-2 CN locomotive No. 8005 is backing up to a parked freight train in Pavilion, MI on April 21, 2008.

This SD40-2W CN locomotive No. 5253 is backing up to a parked freight train in Pavilion, MI on April 21, 2008.

A CN train (with Grand Trunk Western reporting mark) passing through Elmhurst, IL.

In 1929, the CNR made its first experiment with diesel electric locomotives, acquiring two from Westinghouse, numbered 9000 and 9001. It was the first North American railway to use diesels in mainline service. These early units proved the feasibility of the diesel concept, but were not always reliable. No. 9000 served until 1939, and No. 9001 until 1947. The difficulties of the Great Depression precluded much further progress towards diesel locomotives. The CNR began its conversion to diesel locomotives after World War II, and had fully dieselized by 1960. Most of the CNR's first-generation diesel locomotives were made by General Motors Diesel and Montreal Locomotive Works.

For its narrow-gauge lines in Newfoundland CN acquired from General Motors Diesel Division (EMD Canada) the 900 series, Models NF110 (road numbers 900-908) and EMD NF210 (road numbers 909-946). For use on the branch lines CN purchased the EMD G8 (road numbers 800-805).

For passenger service the CNR acquired GMD FP9 diesels, as well as CLC CPA16-5, ALCO MLW FPA-2 and FPB-4 diesels. These locomotives made up most of the CNR's passenger fleet, although CN also owned some 60 RailLiners (Budd Rail Diesel Cars), some dual-purpose diesel freight locomotives (freight locomotives equipped with passenger train apparatus, such as steam generators) as well as the locomotives for the Turbo trainsets. VIA acquired most of CN's passenger fleet when it took over CN passenger service in 1978.

The CN fleet as of 2007 consists of 1548 locomotives, most of which are products of either General Motors' Electro-Motive Division (EMD), or General Electric/GE Transportation Systems.

Much of the current roster is made up of EMD SD70I and EMD SD75I locomotives and GE C44-9W locomotives. Recently acquired are the new EMD SD70M-2 and GE ES44DC. A large number of older locomotives still soldier on, many more than 30 years old. CN has stayed firmly committed to conventional direct current traction motors, instead of the new alternating current motors being used by many railways in heavy-haul service.

CN locomotives have long featured unique features, unlike the stock EMD and GE locomotives. CN introduced a wide-nosed four window "Comfort Cab", the predecessor to the now standard North American Safety Cab, which is now standard on new North American freight locomotives. After a BC derailment, CN introduced ditch lights, lights mounted on or just below the anti-climbers on the front pilot of a locomotive. These are arranged in a "cross-eyed" configuration, to make trains more visible at grade-crossings, and to give better visibility around curves. Since then, ditch lights have become standard features on all North American locomotives.

CN continued to use class-lights on its locomotives, and the first order of the new ES44DC locomotives have red class lights inset in the upper corners of the nose which are illuminated when the locomotive is operating in reverse, or as a DPU unit. The second order of ES44DC's has only a single class light on each end, mounted above the conductor's side ditch light. CN's ES44DC's, like their C44-9W's, feature "tear-drop" windshields, windshields with the outer lower corner dropped as opposed to the standard rectangular GE windshield, to allow for better visibility. The first order of SD70M-2 locomotives had their headlights mounted on the cab, while the second order (8800 series) dropped the headlight to the nose, and also features added class lights mounted above the windshields on the cab.

While many railroads have ordered new "desktop" controls, where the controls are arranged on a desk, CN has stuck with the conventional control stands preferred by railroaders, which feature a stand which is arranged more to the side of the engineer with the controls sticking out horizontally. This arrangement makes reverse operation easier, and allows engineers to "put their feet up", without the feeling of being stuck at a desk all day.

CN's General Motors SD50F, SD60F, and General Electric C40-8M feature a full width carbody which is tapered to allow for better rear visibility. This is referred to as a "Draper Taper" after its creator.

CN owns a large number of large yards and repair shops across their system, which are used for many operations ranging from intermodal terminals to classification yards. Below are some examples of these.

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Canadian National Railway Company

Canadian National Railway Company (NYSE: CNI, TSX: CNR) is a Canadian rail transportation company that operates the Canadian National Railway. It was created in December, 1918 as a Crown corporation of the Government of Canada to nationalize several bankrupt rail systems in Canada. On November 28, 1995 the company was fully privatized by the federal government when an initial public offering of shares was completed.

From 1918 until 1960, the railway itself was known as the "Canadian National Railways", using the acronym "CNR". From 1960 to present, the railway has been known simply as "Canadian National"/"Canadien National", using the acronym "CN". The actual company name, Canadian National Railway Company, has been used from 1918 to present.

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Grand Trunk Corporation

System map

The Grand Trunk Corporation is the subsidiary holding company for the Canadian National Railway's properties in the United States. It is named for the former Grand Trunk Railway, which CN absorbed in the early 1920s. The Association of American Railroads has considered it to be a Class I railroad since fiscal year 2002.

GTC was incorporated in Delaware on September 21, 1970 as Grand Trunk Industries, Inc., and renamed Grand Trunk Corporation on November 18, 1970. It acquired control of the CN's U.S. properties in December 1971, and has since acquired other companies, mostly through acquisitions of other holding companies: Illinois Central Corporation (IC) in 1999, Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation (WC) in 2001, and Great Lakes Transportation in 2004.

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Grand Trunk Western Railroad

System map

The Grand Trunk Western Railroad (reporting mark GTW) is an important subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway (CN).

It currently operates in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, forming the CN mainline from Port Huron, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois, as well as serving Detroit, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio.

The GTW gained fame among railfans for being one of the last North American railroads to use steam locomotives in regular service, which lasted until 1960. Since a corporate restructuring by CN in 1971 the railroad has been placed under a subsidiary holding company known as the Grand Trunk Corporation.

Grand Trunk Western's mainline, known as its Chicago Division, runs between Chicago, Illinois and Port Huron, Michigan. It serves as a connection between the railroad interchanges in Chicago and the rail lines in eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States. The railroad also has extensive trackage in Detroit, Michigan, and northwestern Ohio. Its presence in Detroit has made the railroad an essential link for the automotive industry. GTW has become known as a major hauler of parts and automobiles from manufacturing plants around Detroit and across Michigan.

In 1880 the Chicago and Grand Trunk Railway was created by Canada's Grand Trunk Railway System, GTR, to build a line linking Canada to Chicago across lower Michigan. GTR, predecessor to the Canadian National Railway, CNR, wanted to avoid the expensive cost of using Cornelius Vanderbilt's Michigan Central Railroad as a way into Chicago. The route eventually became the Grand Trunk Western Railway which was amalgamated into the Canadian National Railway in 1923.

The Cincinnati, Saginaw and Mackinaw Railroad was also part of the system, but only leased, not being consolidated until January 1, 1943. The GTW absorbed the Muskegon Railway and Navigation Company on August 23, 1955.

The Grand Trunk Western and the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate) co-owned the Detroit and Toledo Shore Line Railroad. It was a small carrier that had a multi-track mainline bridging Detroit and Toledo and served major industries. GTW eventually took complete control of the line from the Norfolk and Western Railway, successor to the Nickel Plate, in April 1981, and consolidated it on October 1, 1981.

In June 1980 GTW purchased the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad from the Penn Central Corporation, which increased its trackage around Detroit's industries and gave it routes into Ohio. The DT&I was fully merged into GTW in December 1983.

It also attempted to buy the Milwaukee Road to create a connection with its corporate cousin the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway. It would have given GTW trackage from Chicago to northern Minnesota but its bid was rejected.

GTW major terminals and rail yards are located in Detroit, Battle Creek, Durand, Flint, Port Huron and Pontiac, as well as Elsdon Yard on Chicago's west side. Elsdon Yard is now closed. The Chicago board, also known as the Elsdon board, operates out of Markham yard (CN/IC yard).

The St. Clair River Tunnel, completed in 1891 between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario, connected Grand Trunk with its parent CNR. On April 5, 1995, Canadian National opened a new, larger tunnel next to the original 1891 tunnel. The new tunnel can accommodate double stacked intermodal containers and tri-level auto carriers used in freight service. In 1975 GTW also obtained trackage rights with Penn Central to use its Detroit River Tunnel between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

Grand Trunk Western's primary passenger trains were The Maple Leaf, the International Limited, the Inter-City Limited and The LaSalle, which provided service between Chicago’s Dearborn Station and Toronto Union Station. In 1967, GTW introduced the The Mohawk as a fast through train between Chicago and Brush Street Station in Detroit. Passenger operations were handed over to Amtrak in 1971. Amtrak's Chicago to Port Huron trains, known as its Blue Water Service, operates over GTW's route between Battle Creek and Port Huron.

GTW along with the Erie Railroad, Wabash Railroad, Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad and Monon Railroad was a co-owner of the Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad, C&WI, which performed passenger and express car switching at Dearborn Station in Chicago. The group also ended up creating the Belt Railway Company of Chicago that connected every rail line in Chicago.

The railroad also operated suburban commuter trains between downtown Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan from August 1931 until January 1974 when the now defunct SEMTA (Southeast Michigan Transportation Authority) took over operating the commuter trains. Amtrak’s Detroit-Chicago trains now originate or terminate over this former commuter line making stops in the northern Detroit suburbs of Pontiac, Birmingham and Royal Oak, Michigan.

GTW also operated rail-barge service across the St. Clair River between Port Huron and Sarnia and a railcar ferry service across the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. It also ran car ferry vessels across Lake Michigan from Grand Haven, and Muskegon, Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The lake ferries were operated by GTW's subsidiary Grand Trunk Milwaukee Car Ferry Company. GTW's Lake Michigan car ferry fleet of steamers included the SS Grand Haven, SS Milwaukee (which was lost in a storm in October 1929), Grand Rapids, Madison and the City of Milwaukee. The Detroit River ferries ceased running in 1975. The Lake Michigan ferry operations were discontinued in October 1978. The St. Clair River ferries had initially been discontinued circa 1891 when the first St. Clair Tunnel opened, but were reinstated in 1971 due to clearance problems for some cars at the tunnel. In 1995 a larger St. Clair river tunnel opened that allowed double decker trains to cross into Sarnia and the ferries ceased operation on the river.

Grand Trunk 6228, a GP38-2 seen here at Senatobia, Mississippi on December 4, 2006, is an example of GTW power.

This GP38-2 GTW Locomotive No.4926 is sitting at siding. taken in Pavilion,Mi. date taken April 14, 2008.

This GP9R GTW Locomotive No.4625 is backing up to a parked freight train. taken in Pavilion,Mi. date taken April 21, 2008.

This GP38-2 GTW Locomotive No.4905 is sitting idle in Battle Creek,Mi. date taken July 7, 2008.

Grand Trunk Western has always shared equipment, color schemes and corporate logos with parent company Canadian National. It followed CN's herald styles with its own name on the previous "tilted shield" and "Maple Leaf" logos. In 1960, GTW had its own initials incorporated into the "wet noodle" logo. However, in 1971 GTW broke tradition and began receiving its new locomotives in its now famous bright blue, red/orange and grey scheme. At the same time the railroad would also adopt its company slogan; The Good Track Road.

In 1995, Canadian National began a corporate image program to consolidate all of its U.S. railroads under the CN North America brand. Grand Trunk Western along with other CN owned subsidiaries would see their images replaced with the CN logo and name. All GTW corporate identification and that of its new corporate cousins the Illinois Central Railroad, IC (acquired by CN in 1999) and Wisconsin Central Ltd., WC (acquired by CN in 2001) are referred to with CN’s corporate image. However, while each railroad’s locomotives would receive CN’s black, Grey #17 and Red-Orange #11 colors and logo they would still retain their respective reporting marks, GTW, IC or WC, on each of their locomotives.

CN’s subsidiary Grand Trunk Corporation now controls almost all of CN's U.S. operations which include Grand Trunk Western, Illinois Central, Wisconsin Central, Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific and Great Lakes Transportation, GLT, which includes the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, B&LE and the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway, DMIR. The Association of American Railroads has considered the Grand Trunk Corporation as a single Class I railroad since 2002.

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Source : Wikipedia