CN announced it is accelerating work on the US$33-million upgrading of its Whitehall Subdivision in Wisconsin to increase carloading capacity and train velocity for the growing frac sand supply chains of Badger Mining Corporation, Preferred Sands of Wisconsin LLC, Atlas Resin Proppants LLC, and Taylor Frac LLC.
The improvement program will permit the transportation of heavier loaded frac sand freight cars weighing a maximum of 286,000 pounds, thereby increasing the volume per car, generating increased productivity for customer car fleets, and increasing train speed for CN. CN will improve the 74-mile section of the Whitehall Subdivision between Wisconsin Rapids and Blair, Wis., in three years rather than four to obtain quicker customer gains. Work began in 2012 and the full program should be completed by December 2014.
Jean-Jacques Ruest, CN Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, said: “We are investing in increased rail capacity on the Whitehall Subdivision to help move more frac sand and to develop a more robust supply chain for our customers in Wisconsin to connect with the oil and gas shale basins in North America.” Frac sand is used by oil and gas industries in the hydraulic fracturing process to open shale formations, and allow fractures to release natural gas and oil.