GFM Network News


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Comment: Let’s get ready to ‘build back better’

Canada needs a permanent solution to perennial transportation issues as part of its economic recovery

Build back better. It’s a catchy slogan – and a good idea. Throughout the pandemic, the Canadian agriculture and food industry has shown it is more than up to the task. But without the right practices, policies and infrastructure in place, it is becoming increasingly clear Canada will not be able to fully realize its

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What gives? Grain shipping records… and service complaints

“There have been some challenges — a couple of bottlenecks in some places and some issues at the port once in a while, but overall I think we’ve had a good run of it.” – Sean Finn, CN

Canada’s railways continue to move record grain volumes but that doesn’t mean rail service woes have disappeared, the Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) warns. February marked the 12th month in a row that CN Rail moved a record amount of grain. It shipped 2.28 million tonnes, up seven per cent from the previous record of


A number of key rail safety concerns have not been dealt with, according to Canada’s auditor general.

Transport Canada’s rail safety oversight under fire

The federal watchdog says key safety concerns remain unaddressed

Canada’s auditor general is criticizing Transport Canada for lack of safety oversight on railroads. A recent report from the office says the federal institution tasked with regulating transport has made important improvements to safety and inspections, but “it did not assess whether its oversight activities improved rail safety.” More than $328 billion worth of goods

CP to employ Ballard fuel cells in Hydrogen Locomotive Program

Railway touts zero emissions goal

Canadian Pacific (CP) is adopting a new Canadian technology in a bid to reduce its locomotion emissions. It’s teaming up with Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems to employ Ballard fuel cell modules in CP’s Hydrogen Locomotive Program. The modules will provide a total of 1.2 megawatts of electricity to power the locomotive. “With this purchase from Ballard, a leader in

The great grain transportation turnaround

The great grain transportation turnaround

From bad to best, Western Canada’s grain-handling and transportation system has made huge improvements in the last 25 years

Twenty-five years ago critics claimed Western Canada had one of the worst grain-handling and transportation systems in the developed world. Yet today it’s among the best, says Canada’s grain monitor Mark Hemmes. Far from perfect, and still vulnerable to costly disruptions, including right now, the system from farm gate to terminal spout has been revamped


Despite earlier shipping records, grain shipping backlog builds

Canada’s railways continued to break grain movement records earlier this crop year. But as welcome as improved rail service has been, those records need to be put into context, says Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA). For starters grain production has been steadily increasing so setting shipping records has to

Farmers say railway crossing rule changes need more time.

Prairie farm groups want deadline extended on private rail crossing upgrades

Farmers also don’t want to foot the bill for upgrades and crossing maintenance

Private grade railway crossings must be upgraded to make them safer by Nov. 28, 2021, but Prairie farm groups want the federal government to extend the deadline. The groups also oppose farmers having to pay for the upgrades and ongoing maintenance. “It has traditionally been the responsibility of the railways to maintain and upgrade the

This truck didn’t survive its meeting with a train, but the driver did, and was released from hospital the same day with minor injuries.

One train, two accidents

Manitoba RCMP say one train was involved in two separate non-fatal incidents at uncontrolled intersections

Call it a Christmas miracle. A Canadian Pacific train was involved in two separate non-fatal accidents at uncontrolled intersections within a couple of hours, underlining the need for proactive safety measures on the part of drivers, according to the RCMP. “Many railroad tracks in Manitoba go through rural areas and cross roads at uncontrolled intersections,”


(Dave Bedard photo)

Federal work/rest rules to be updated for railway workers

More clarifications coming, Teamsters say

A perennial sticking point in work stoppages and labour disputes at Canada’s two major railways is expected to be at least somewhat addressed within the next two and a half years. Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau on Nov. 25 announced what’s billed as the first updates to the Duty/Rest Rules for Railway Operating Employees since

Railways are moving record amounts of grain -- but that's needed because farmers keep growing so much.

Mixed messages: Declining order fulfilment accompanies grain shipping record

Increased grain production means new records are needed to move the crop, shippers say

Canada’s two main railways keep breaking grain movement records, but oddly, on-time car delivery has fallen compared to the same period last crop year. It’s counterintuitive, but the explanation is simple: grain companies have ordered 13 per cent more cars this crop year, and the railways, while setting records, aren’t keeping up with the increased