Monday, September 17, 2007


Major CN derailment today near Terrace

Another Citizen Journalist caught the news in Terrace Online, that 29 CN grain cars went off the tracks beside the Skeena River near Terrace today. The grain was on its way to Prince Rupert, which officially opened its new container-port only a few days ago. The container-port is a key link in the development of a transportation corridor through Edmonton to the U.S. distribution centres of Chicago and Memphis, Tenn., via CN Rail's network. Prince Rupert is 30 hours closer to Asia than other North American West Coast ports, they say. But approaching trains which keep falling off the rails or smashing into one another -- not good news.

And the Vancouver Sun story:

Further recent news about CN:

Businesses push for rail reform
Long delays and labour disputes are costing money, chamber says

Scott Simpson
vancouver sun - Thursday, September 20, 2007

A growing sense of frustration among local port terminal operators about "poor and inconsistent service" is prompting North Vancouver's chamber of commerce to lead a new national call for railway system reforms. {Snip} ...

... it is calling on the federal government, which is in the process of reviewing railway service provisions of the Canada Transportation Act, to compel railways to eliminate delays that arise from labour agreements and from movement of freight on rail lines owned by one railway but required by another seeking access to a port.

In one instance, a 1953 agreement between CN Rail and the Vancouver Port Authority guarantees CN exclusive access to North Shore terminals -- which means CP Rail and other CN rivals have to hand over their trains to CN crews in order to get their customers' goods into those terminals.

The transfer often takes place at Boston Bar in the Fraser Canyon and the North Vancouver chamber notes that the trains "may sit for long periods" before a CN crew becomes available -- with terminals sitting idle while the switchover is completed.

The chamber says CN is doing "an admirable job" of controlling its labour expenses -- to the detriment of the terminal operators.

"Because of the ownership rights (railway monopolies) that exist, terminal operators feel that there is little they can do to influence better coordination and reliability between railways," says a North Vancouver chamber policy statement endorsed this week by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. {Snip} ...

The chamber wants the federal government to amend the transportation act so that labour issues -- notably the lack of coordination on crew transfers between CP and CN do not continue to be an issue for terminal operators.

"Capital investments are not being made in our port terminals," Yamamoto said. "If we can't get the product to the terminal it doesn't matter how much more efficient the terminals become.

"I've become afraid we will lose $100 million worth of infrastructure that a company may want to put into a terminal -- and it will go somewhere else.

"I can tell you terminal operators on the North Shore are some of our biggest taxpayers in the city and it will affect everybody if their operations are not deemed profitable."

Officials with CN did not respond by press time to The Vancouver Sun's request for a comment on the situation.

In a news release, North Vancouver chamber board chair Mike Watson said railroad service to Lower Mainland ports has "deteriorated in recent years." {Snip} ...


Thjis line was owned by CN Rail (now to be calledCN Derail) before BC Rail was sold to CN. It wasn't owned by BC Rail. This still doesn't excuss CN for their shoddy performance. Check out Opinion 250 for more on the story at
I believe that you are mistaken. The railway from Prince George to Prince Rupert has always been CN.The north south line through Prince George was BC rail and part of Campbell's gift of public assets to CN. The grain was heading to the grain elevator dock in Prince Rupert which officially opened in the eighties.
That part of the railway has always been CN's. The grain was going to the grain elevator dock which officially opened in the eighties.
Which just goes to show that they're equal opportunity shoddy RR folks. They screw up equally often no matter how familiar they are with the line they're pulling on. You suppose this unit was running on a belt-pack too?

CN, time once was, ran a far better and safer operation than the CPR...but that was before maintenance and safety got in the road of the bottom line and shareholders like Bill Gates climbed on board.

Those guys have benchmarks, remember?
I just noticed that my comment disappeared!

Early this morning, I left my thanks, and thanks again, to the train-spotters above for their information. And my apologies for tripping over the obvious - I knew that line P.G. to P.R. pre-dated B.C. Rail.

With your help, I did go into the edit-box and made some corrections to the postings.

I appreciate the input because I hope this web-site will serve as an archive for anybody studying B.C. Rail and the government actions surrounding its sale to CN.

Thanks again, all.

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