Canadian National Railways announced that it plans to construct five extended sidings on its B.C. North Line in 2012 as part of a multi-year capital program to expand freight train capacity to handle growing freight volumes along its important Edmonton-Prince Rupert  corridor.

In 2011, more than half a million carloads/intermodal units moved over CN’s B.C. North corridor. By 2015, CN traffic on this line could nearly double.

CN has extended or constructed 21 sidings to handle 12,000-foot trains between Edmonton and Prince Rupert since 2004. This is in addition to new signaling and train control, several tunnel and bridge clearances, yard expansions at Smithers and Terrace, B.C., and the installation of a longer siding at Swan Landing, Alberta.

CN’s investments since 2004 in capacity expansion along the Edmonton-Prince Rupert corridor will total more than $150 million by the end of this year, with further extended sidings expected to be built in future years.

Keith Creel, CN Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, said: “CN’s sizable investments in rail infrastructure in northern B.C. and Western Alberta are helping us accommodate growing import-export traffic moving between the Port of Prince Rupert, the B.C. interior and major centres across CN’s network in Canada and the United States. The investments will also help us better move rising export coal volumes from existing and new mines in the region to Ridley Terminals at Prince Rupert, whose handling capacity is expected to double by the end of 2014 to 24 million tonnes.

“Our infrastructure investments are critical parts of our B.C. North Gateway strategy to handle increased volumes of containers, coal and other commodities to and from the Port of Prince Rupert. This strategy aims to help CN tap new opportunities efficiently and productively while helping our customers to expand their businesses and compete more effectively in their end markets.”

CN plans to invest a total of $1.8 billion in 2012 to maintain and upgrade its overall North American railway network, support growth and productivity initiatives, and continue to provide its customers quality service.