Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Look for more rail congestion

We don’t make up the news, we just report it.

E. Hunter Harrison, former Memphian and CEO of CN Railway, spoke  to the Economic Club in Memphis last night about projected growth of traffic between the developing Prince Rupert, B. C. port and the Tennessee rail hub. Since this growth occurs on the line of an Amtrak service that has something of a reputation for good time keeping, this is reported without comment (for now). The entire story (it’s a good one) is in the Commercial Appeal.

With CN’s announcement last week that it intends to buy a major portion of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Co. in Chicago, Harrison’s own number suggest CN will be able to get cargo to Memphis in 100 hours from Prince Rupert — 3,100 miles away — as early as 2011.

In the same year, he says Memphis will be receiving a milelong train a day from Prince Rupert alone, double stacked with import containers.

The combination of the investments will change CN’s entire U.S. network.

“We currently have seven primary yards in the U.S. All will be downsized to focus on Chicago and Memphis.”

Container imports are expected to rise 350 percent by 2020, creating immense stresses for the U.S. transportation sector. Improved rail efficiencies must cope with this problem, he said.

In Memphis alone, Harrison said, CN has invested nearly a half-billion dollars since 2004, opening a new intermodal terminal at Frank C. Pidgeon Park in 2005, and beefing up its rail car yard at Johnston Yard.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

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