CN plans to reopen main line to Vancouver this weekend

Railroad says traffic backlog may not be resolved until February after heavy rains washed the track


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Canadian national logoNASHVILLE – Canadian National expects its severed British Columbia main line to return to service by the weekend, which will help ease the traffic congestion to and from Vancouver, Canada’s busiest port.

Heavy rains hit southern British Columbia last month, causing landslides, flooding and major washouts in the directional traffic area where CN and CPR share track.

“Over the past two weeks we have had heavy rains in southern British Columbia. Keep in mind that this is an area that over the summer experienced a large number of forest fires. So the side of the mountain is very fragile, ”COO Rob Reilly told an investor conference Wednesday morning. “In the past two weeks, we have experienced over 50 mainline outages between Kamloops and Vancouver, and as I speak here today, we are down to a major outage between Kamloops and Boston Bar where the team works 24/7. put back into service. Probably by this weekend we will have fully restored service to Vancouver.

CN and CP will then begin to clear the backlogs of grain and international intermodal traffic that have built up over the past few weeks. “The recovery will spread well beyond December and will go into January 2022 and even February 2022,” said CFO Ghislain Houle.

CN and CP trains currently use the CP line to and from Vancouver, severely restricting the capacity of Canada’s busiest freight corridor. More than 73 miles of containers have accumulated at Vancouver’s dockside terminals, according to the latest data from Port Vancouver.

CN was able to divert some intermodal and grain traffic to the Port of Prince Rupert. The main line from CN to Rupert was not affected by the storms. “This is one of the advantages of our network,” says Reilly.

CN executives spoke with analyst Justin Long at Stephens’ annual investment conference.

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