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General railway discussions

CN's new, under construction (400 acres or thereabouts) internodal terminal is then designed to alleviate pressures at the Brampton Terminal (?)
Correct.

And the consensus from all of these postings would be that railways generally have the internal capacities to move intermodal units from coast to coast in a timely fashion. Western ports are undergoing capacity upgrades at the dock to handle greater volumes - there has been a lot of comment on dwell times with western ports..
The railways have some internal capacity available with which to move larger quantities of the various items they do, yes.

There is some concern about the capacity of the facilities at the ends of their runs, however.

Eastern ports can handle the volume as is (without discussing the proposed container port near Sydney?)
That seems to be the case, yes. And frankly, the traffic levels are far lower anyways, and with more ports to split those lower levels across.

A logistics company told me that it should take six days to ship from Vancouver to Halifax. I am assuming that this does not include loading the train and unloading the train. We have an idea of the time it takes in Brampton (and I am assuming it is one of those 1 mile long unit trains) to load and unload but I am not sure that experience is transferable to either coast - different equipment etc?
Transit time from Vancouver to Toronto is about 5 days, so an additional day to go to Halifax makes sense. And no, this does not include loading and unloading the train.

Vancouver is not a terrific place to have to transload from, as it generally takes anywhere from 3 to 10 days for a container to go from the boat getting dockside to being loaded onto a train. Prince Rupert is much quicker - usually 1 to 3 days - but the downside of it is that you are tied to CN, whereas there are far more options to get out of Vancouver.

Brampton is congested, but CN generally does a pretty good job of getting containers moving in a good manner. 2 days on the ground there is exceedingly rare. It seems to be the same at CP's Vaughan facility, maybe even a bit faster.

Fee-wise I am still trying to work out some general rates. I may have to bribe a logistics guy with an enhanced Christmas offering to get this information. I am going to assume that a coast to coast unload/load shipment could be treated as in 'inbond' shipment and qualify for more cursory customs review prior to arrival and then also qualify for some sort of scaled unit costs for handling and transport depending on weight? And content classification? A further assumption would be that the container company would have a ship arriving in port as the unit train(s) arrived as well so that dwell time would be within the ports norms.
My understanding of this is that the variables for shipping are so vast that it would be impossible to attempt to give you any guidelines without any more precision. And to be honest, I wouldn't be the best person for this in any case. If you are serious abou this, your best bet is to talk with a broker or two - there are several good ones located in the GTA.

Dan
 
Correct.


The railways have some internal capacity available with which to move larger quantities of the various items they do, yes.

There is some concern about the capacity of the facilities at the ends of their runs, however.


That seems to be the case, yes. And frankly, the traffic levels are far lower anyways, and with more ports to split those lower levels across.


Transit time from Vancouver to Toronto is about 5 days, so an additional day to go to Halifax makes sense. And no, this does not include loading and unloading the train.

Vancouver is not a terrific place to have to transload from, as it generally takes anywhere from 3 to 10 days for a container to go from the boat getting dockside to being loaded onto a train. Prince Rupert is much quicker - usually 1 to 3 days - but the downside of it is that you are tied to CN, whereas there are far more options to get out of Vancouver.

Brampton is congested, but CN generally does a pretty good job of getting containers moving in a good manner. 2 days on the ground there is exceedingly rare. It seems to be the same at CP's Vaughan facility, maybe even a bit faster.


My understanding of this is that the variables for shipping are so vast that it would be impossible to attempt to give you any guidelines without any more precision. And to be honest, I wouldn't be the best person for this in any case. If you are serious abou this, your best bet is to talk with a broker or two - there are several good ones located in the GTA.

Dan
Missing in this discussion is the North West Passage. A few more years of climate change, and less ice will prove very inviting for sea carriers. Possibly and probably more problems for Canada , but the seamless movement of goods from the Pacific to the Atlantic will attract a lot of attention.
 
Ten years ago I visited a narrow gauge railway museum on Vancouver Island. It was fun, but I can’t see it being viable today.
Here’s the place. I highly recommend it, a good day out.

The_BC_Forest_Discovery_Centre-a.jpg


 
Missing in this discussion is the North West Passage. A few more years of climate change, and less ice will prove very inviting for sea carriers. Possibly and probably more problems for Canada , but the seamless movement of goods from the Pacific to the Atlantic will attract a lot of attention.
I strongly disagree.

The distance of the North West Passage is so much greater from Asia to the East Coast ports than the distance through the Panama Canal as to be too detrimental to travel times - transloading included.

Otherwise, you would see a LOT more traffic go via the Cape Horn than you actually do today.

Dan
 
Climate variations aside, I see traffic moving to the Northeast Passage before the Northwest. The NWP requires a long haul around Alaska and consists of numerous narrow channels that are still poorly charted and sounded. The NEP is much more open ocean and Russia has invested much more in its Arctic mapping and icebreaking efforts than either us or the US.
 
What's the dotted portion going West from Nora Springs through Mason City? My quick satellite view check shows there's still tracks.

There was no legend on that map, but I found the answer elsewhere.

Dotted indicates trackage rights over another railway's track, dashes are owned track.
 
The map at the bottom of this link shows it is, indeed, CP trackage rights, as well as abandoned roads in the State.

 
CN is back in buying mode, with a modest acquisition.


They are picking up Iowa Northern in the U.S. subject to regulatory approval., This will add 275 miles of track to their network.

View attachment 525301

source: https://www.trains.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/TRN_Iowa_Northern_map.jpg
What's the advantage of acquiring this when they have parallel access already to Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls? Just more / better access to customers?
 
One assumes it enables pulling business away from CP and UP.

The north end of the IANR at Manly is a big refineryish area. Grain traffic around Mason City is huge. The IANR is a short line, but if you figure that much of that traffic may travel (and generate revenue) for a longer haul, it may be a good opportunity to grab some very lucrative traffic.

(Digresstion - Mason City boasts a really cool electric traction operation that does local switching with very vintage box cab electric locos. It's a bit of a railway enthusiast mecca)

Who says railways don't compete aggressively.

- Paul
 
With resource-based customers, in this case agriculture, access to elevators and inland terminals is key. That's what makes shortlines in the both the US midwest and Canadian prairies profitable. I guess CN saw merit in buying it directly and liked the pricetag.
 

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