Critical CN line officially re-opened, but damage might already be done to grain market

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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Canadian National crews opened a vital line on Dec. 5.
CN Photo/Tim Stevens

A vital Canadian National line in southern British Columbia is officially back on the grid.

Crews worked around the clock to repair rail infrastructure on the Vancouver-to-Kamloops corridor, and train activity resumed on Dec. 5.

The segment had been disabled due to mudslides and heavy rainfall in late November. Limited activity was restored in late November, but the line was shut down again after more severe weather. Canadian National said crews would continue to monitor both the rail infrastructure as well as the terrain over the coming days and weeks.

The shipping backlog has been well documented in the news over the last few months, and the restoration of the Vancouver-to-Kamloops corridor, which is a main link in and out of the Port of Vancouver, will help loosen the knot. However, grain shipments face a long road to recovery. The Canadian Canola Growers Association said regardless of when the traffic on the mainlines resume handling normal levels of traffic, the reverberations back through the grain supply chain in western Canada will be measured in months.

The number of grain cars unloaded at West Coast ports dropped by 83% year over year in the third week of November. As of Nov. 28, there were 24 grain vessels at berth or at anchor at the Port of Vancouver waiting for the shipment of about 1.4 million tonnes of grain.

Canadian Pacific shares a road with Canadian National through a section of Fraser Valley, and the recent repair in track infrastructure also will help the Class 1 company increase grain shipments.

Read more articles on track maintenance.

Categories: Class 1, Freight, Intermodal, ON Track Maintenance, Ports, Rail News, Railroad News, Track Maintenance
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