On April 18, CN announced it will acquire 350 premium boxcars to serve growing demand from industrial customers across its North American network. “These additional boxcars, combined with our new locomotives, hundreds of new train crew members, and track expansion investments, will help give us the capacity and network resiliency we need for pulp, paper and metals customers,” said Doug MacDonald, Vice-President of Bulk at CN. The leased 50-foot, high-capacity plate F boxcars, equipped with 12-foot plug doors, are expected to be delivered beginning in late summer with all the cars in service by the end of 2018.

On May 2, CN announced it will buy a further 350 centrebeam cars to serve growing demand from lumber producing customers across its North American network. “These additional centrebeams give us the tools to put more capacity at the disposal of business partners such as West Fraser. CN needs to and will do better moving lumber to market.”

The newbuild, 73-foot riserless centrebeams, with a maximum load capacity of 286,000 pounds, are expected to be delivered starting in September. CN is also looking at an option to purchase or lease an additional 300 cars. The new cars will be manufactured by National Steel Car Ltd. at its assembly plant in Hamilton, Ont.

As part of CN’s $3.4 billion capital program in 2018, the company is investing in new trade-enabling infrastructure this spring and summer, building new track and yard capacity to handle increased traffic across CN’s West Coast to Chicago corridor more efficiently. After adding approximately 400 conductors to the field so far this year, CN continues to hire with a particular focus on crews in Western Canada. Approximately 1,250 more train conductors will be in the field before the next winter, compared to the number of conductors available before last winter.

In addition to railcars, CN expects starting in June to take delivery of the first of 60 new GE locomotives due in service in 2018.