Canadian Pacific (CP) said it will further develop its long-train strategy in 2012. As part of its previously announced 2011 capital expansion program, CP’s installation of new and extended sidings in several key regions throughout its network will allow the railway to further benefit from current double-digit increases in train lengths.

By the end of 2013, CP is targeting an 11-per-cent increase in trans­continental train lengths by adding growing volumes into existing trains. CP currently operates intermodal trains up to 12,000 feet long, an increase of 40 per cent since 2008.

CP said the benefits of long trains include reduced fuel consumption, capital maintenance and labour savings, and improved safety and efficiency.

“Long trains are the cornerstone of CP’s operating strategy,” said Mike Franczak, executive vice-president of operations. “By increasing train lengths and realizing strategic long siding investments, CP is maximizing productivity and service, while reducing labour costs and increasing fuel efficiency.”

Similar capital investments in the western end of CP’s network are enabling potash train sizes to increase by 20 per cent and unit coal train sizes to increase by 18 per cent.

CP has been running long trains using locotrol technology for remote locomotive operations and TrAM, its train area marshalling software. TrAM’s technology ensures that in-train forces are kept within safe standards, reducing wear on track infrastructure.