CN Plans to Boost Capital Spending in 2018

Canadian National plans to boost capital spending this year by greatly expanding its track capacity.

The bulk of that expansion will occur in Canada, although CN is planning to expand capacity of its route between Chicago and Winnipeg.

Jim McLeod, CN’s chief engineer, structures, design & construction, described CN’s capital spending during a presentation at the National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association conference as moving from “steady as we go” to a cycle of “the gangbuster variety.”

This year CN will add 49 miles of double track tracking, four new sidings, and three siding expansions.

It also plans to begin renewing the St. Charles Air Line in Chicago, which is used by Amtrak trains between the Windy City and New Orleans. Some bridges on the St. Charles Air Line were built in 1899.

In total, CN plans to spent $85 million in 2018 and $100 million in 2019 on bridges.

Basic track infrastructure spending will rise from $1.18 billion in 2017 to $1.2 billion in 2018, $1.23 billion in 2019 and $1.27 billion in 2020.

The work includes replacement of 1.1 million crossties, a 20 percent increase, and replacement of 446 track miles of rail, which would be equal to what the railroad did in 2017.

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