CN and CP to spend $3 billion on upgrades and buying new equipment

CN and CP will spend $3 billion this year on new locomotives and freight cars and to upgrade their rail networks.

“Infrastructure investments, the acquisition of new locomotives and equipment, and the enhancement of information technology systems will help support our agenda of operational and service excellence,” said Claude Mongeau, president and CEO of CN, which is planning to spend $1.9 billion.

“They will also make our customers more competitive in domestic and global markets, and position us to maximize further business opportunities in intermodal, energy and other resource and manufacturing markets in 2013 and beyond.”

CP boss Hunter Harrison said his company’s $1.1-billion outlay will lower its costs while “providing a premium, reliable product” to shippers.

CP has opened 24/7 service centres in Winnipeg, Toronto and Minneapolis, and is promising a speedy resolution of any problems shippers encounter.

Customers who connect with a centre and require on-the-ground assistance “will be put in touch with someone in the field who can provide swift problem resolution,” said spokesman Ed Greenberg.

“We want to deliver competitive and more consistent service for our customers and solutions that resolve their issues faster,” he said.

CN will spend $1 billion on track infrastructure and network improvements, and $700 million on services and facilities. Another $200 million will be spent on other infrastructure upgrades to buy or refurbish locomotives, intermodal equipment and vehicles. It expects to take delivery of 40 new and 37 second-hand high-horsepower locomotives over the next 24 months, after also acquiring 25 new and 123 second-hand high-horsepower locomotives in 2012.

CP has unveiled faster intermodal train services connecting Vancouver to Toronto or Chicago. That will remove a day from the 2,600-mile Toronto-to-Vancouver run and two days from the 2,200-mile Vancouver-to-Chicago run.

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