Posts Tagged ‘Canadian National’

Sweeping Through Broom Town

July 1, 2022

Arcola, Illinois, likes to describe itself as “broom town.” That’s because back in the 1920s the area was known for the production of broom corn which led to Arcola being a center for the manufacturing of brooms.

Every year the town of 3,000 population celebrates is broom corn heritage with an annual festival.

Arcola is bisected the mainline of the Chicago-New Orleans route of the Illinois Central Railroad, now owned by Canadian National.

On a Saturday morning a pair of bicyclists watch as a northbound CN manifest freight passes through town.

CSX, CN Call Off Sale of Canadian Route

June 14, 2022

The sale of a CSX line to Canada to Canadian National has been called off.

The line between Montreal and Syracuse, New York, was to have been merged into CN’s Bessemer & Lake subsidiary.

Although the sale received approval from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board in April 2020, regulators also imposed a number of conditions on the sale that the two Class 1 railroads were unwilling to accept or able to work around.

Chief among them was a requirement that a clause CSX had insisted upon in the sale agreement that CN would be unable to negotiate direct interchange agreements with the Finger Lakes Railway and the New York, Susquehanna & Western in the Syracuse region.

The STB twice extended the deadline for CSX and CN to reach a new sale agreement but they were unable to do so and asked the STB to reconsider their original deal.

Regulators refused and CN sued the STB in federal court in April 2021. With the sale now having been called off, CN has sought and received approval from the court to dismiss its lawsuit.

CN Returns Standard Cab Units to Mainline Duty

June 10, 2022

Some standard cab locomotives have been returned to mainline service by Canadian National  after being sidelined or assigned to captive service since early 2021, Trains magazine reported this week on its website.

Some other units, including idled wide cab units, also have returned to service or are being prepared for a return as part of the railroad’s fall and winter surge fleet.

Most of the 134 GE C-40-8 units CN acquired between 2010 and 2012 have been parked or retired since 2020.

The Dash 8s are not expected to be mainstays on CN for long. The Trains report can be read at https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/news-photos-canadian-national-returns-dash-8-locomotives-to-service/

CN Buys New Wabtec Dispatching System

June 7, 2022

Canadian National is the first customers to buy a new dispatching system created by Pittsburgh-based Wabtec Corporation.

In a news release, Wabtec described the dispatching system as a major step toward network automation for CN and the entire rail industry.

CN plans to use the dispatching system across its 20,000-mile network on 37 dispatching desks.

The system is expected to be phased into operation through late 2023.

Wabtec officials said the system will enable CN to increase capacity and improve efficiency and safety.

The dispatching system analyzes data coming from all rolling stock and wayside device assets and positive train control, Wabtec said.

With this information, the system provides advanced automation through end-to-end electronic delivery of mandatory directives and automatic implementation of authorities in dark territory.

Bruder Elected Chairman of CN Board

May 23, 2022

Shauneen Bruder has been elected as chairman of the board of directors of Canadian National.

She previously served as  executive vice president of operations at the Royal Bank of Canada until retiring in October 2019.

Bruder has been a CN director since 2017. As CN chairman, Bruuder succeeds Robert Pace.

The board also elected as new directors David Freeman, Robert Knight and Susan Jones. Re-elected to the board were Jo-ann dePass Olsovsky, Denise Gray, Justin Howell, Kevin Lynch, Margaret McKenzie, Robert Phillips, and CN President and CEO Tracy Robinson.

The board is seeking a francophone — or someone who speaks French — who would be a Quebec-based director. CN has hired a Montreal search firm to help recruit that candidate.

CN Going Back to Basics

May 19, 2022

Canadian National CEO Tracy Robinson told an investor’s conference this week that the carrier is taking a back-to-basics approach to operations.

Speaking to the Bank of America 29th Annual Transportation Conference, she said CN is emphasizing that that trains depart from yards on on time and with the right blocks of cars.

“As we bring the schedule together, it means every car has a plan, every block has a plan, every train has a plan, the meets are all scheduled. And every customer has a plan, including the local service delivery. As we do this, we’re seeing it’s starting to work,” Robinson said.

The goal of this is to increase network speed and improve service to shippers.

Robinson said traffic flows remain different than they were before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although CN is actively seeking new business, Robinson said the railroad is more tightly coordinating its operations, marketing, and finance functions to ensure that it can handle any new business it takes on.

“You need to be intentional about that, and to build our book in such a way that we can deliver to our customers,” she said. “We want to be able to deliver what we sell.”

A story about Robinson’s speech can be read at https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/canadian-national-launches-new-focus-on-operations/

New CN CEO Outlines Priorities

April 29, 2022

Canadian National CEO Tracy Robinson is now two months into her tenure as head of the Montreal-based railroad and has spent much of that time getting to know the system, including its workers and shippers.

During an earnings conference call with investors this week she laid out her priorities for CN. It was her first public comment since taking over as CEO on Feb. 28.

The first priority Robinson mentioned was focusing on improving velocity. At the same time CN needs to make more efficient use locomotives, cars and crews.

Robinson also spoke of better fitting its network to its strengths, tightening coordination between operations and marketing to ensure CN is able to deliver on its commitments to customers, and investing for growth and efficiency.

“We all know what this network and what this team is capable of doing,” Robinson said. “It’s not a matter of is it operating ratio or is it growth. I think it’s both.”

During the earning call Robinson announced that Doug MacDonald, currently CN’s senior vice president of special projects, was promoted to chief marketing officer.

Robinson replaced the retiring J.J. Ruest at CN. She worked for 27 years at Canadian Pacific and most recently was an executive for pipeline company TC Energy.

CN 1st Quarter Revenue up 5%

April 28, 2022

Canadian National saw its first quarter 2022 revenue rise 5 percent to CA$3.7 billion.

The Montreal-based railroad said adjusted diluted earnings per share were CA$1.32, up 7 percent, compared with first-quarter results in 2021.

Operating income was CA$1.2 billion, down 8 percent, and adjusted operating income of CA$1.2 billion, was up 4 percent.

CN officials said net income was CA$918 million, down from CA$976 million a year ago.

CEO Tracy Robinson in a statement said CN showed resilience in the first quarter in the face of severe winter weather conditions and supply chain disruptions “to deliver solid results.”

CN reported diluted EPS of CA$1.31, down 4 percent. The company posted an operating ratio — defined as operating expenses as a percentage of revenue — of 66.9 percent, an increase of 4.4 points, and adjusted operating ratio of 66.6 percent, an increase of 0.3 points.

The velocity of the system during the quarter, which it also describes as car miles per day, fell by by 12 percent. Fuel efficiency remained flat at 0.910 U.S. gallons of locomotive fuel consumed per 1,000 gross ton miles.

The 5 percent revenue increase reflected strong demand despite reduced revenue ton miles that resulted from a significantly smaller Canadian grain crop, CN officials said.

CN attributed the revenue increase mainly to higher applicable fuel surcharge rates, freight rate increases, higher Canadian export volumes of coal via West Coast ports and higher export volumes of U.S. grain.

Revenue was partly offset by significantly lower export volumes of Canadian grain and lower international container traffic volumes via the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

Operating expenses for the quarter climbed 12 percent to CA$2.481 million, mainly due to higher fuel costs as well as the recovery of a loss on assets held for sale recorded in Q1 2021.

Due to challenging operating conditions in the quarter as well as worldwide economic uncertainty, CN now expects to deliver a 15 percent to 20 percent adjusted diluted EPS growth, compared to its Jan. 25 target of 20 percent. The company is now targeting an Operating ratio below 60 percent for 2022, compared to its Jan. 25 target of about 57 percent.

CN Executive Train Passes Through Michigan

April 8, 2022

The Canadian National executive train passed through Michigan on Thursday as the railroad’s new CEO Tracy Robinson took to the rails to look at the system.

The train originated in Toronto at the Brampton Intermodal Terminal and was expected to arrive in Chicago Thursday afternoon, Trains magazine reported on its website.

The train had two CN freight locomotives and four passenger cars.

Robinson assumed the CEO post on Feb. 28, replacing the retiring Jean-Jacques Ruest.

Pumpkin on NS Two for Tuesday

March 22, 2022

BNSF “pumpkins” leading trains on CSX or Norfolk Southern are not necessarily rare occurrences but they can still turn your head and lead you to press the shutter release button on your camera when you see one. I was in Goshen, Indiana, on the NS Chicago Line in early afternoon on Sunday when train 60E came east through CP 412 (top photograph) with a motive power consist of one BNSF unit on the point followed by two Union Pacific units trailing.

The train is handed over to NS in Chicago by Canadian National at Calumet Yard and then heads for Mingo Junction with a load of covered hoppers containing frac sand. It operates as needed. There is a another frac sand train that CN turns over to NS at Calumet Yard, the 60F, that interchanges in Radebaugh, Pennsylvania, to the Allegheny Valley Railroad.

In the bottom photograph, the 60E is passing Oak Ridge Cemetery, which is to the north of the tracks.