Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CN to swap thousands of rail ties in B.C.

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Workers are distributing 90,000 railroad ties beside CN's track between Prince Rupert and Smithers, B.C., in preparation for an extensive spring/summer replacement work project, the Terrace Standard reports. A bright yellow tie carrier, complete with a grappling arm to unload the ties, is now making its way on the tracks east from Prince Rupert.

Other equipment is now being marshaled at CN's Prince Rupert facilities in preparation for the replacement work to start. The ties will be replaced on specific sections of the track according to maintenance requirements, says CN official Kelli Svendsen.

"It's part of our capital plan. Generally speaking, the ties have a 40-year lifespan," she said.

Unlike the situation on other CN lines, the new ties continue to be fashioned from treated wood.

"The kind of ties we used depends upon factors such as the weather," Svendsen explained.

More than 100 people on the tie gang will be involved when replacement work begins the in the latter part of April. The old ties will be taken to an authorized facility and burned at a very high temperature, Svendsen said.

"It's a facility that's been approved by the provincial government," she added.

CN's northern line has grown in importance in the past years thanks to the development of the container port at Prince Rupert. The line is now tied in with a North American transportation system so that incoming and outgoing containers are moved as fast as possible to and from berthing ships.

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