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11/2/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

CPR proposes grain-handling system revisions in Canada



Canadian Pacific Railway officials have a few suggestions on how the Canadian government can stabilize the country's grain handling and transportation system. CPR representatives recently shared their ideas with government officials during a meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on the future of Canada's grain hopper fleet.

CPR officials propose that Transport Canada maintain ownership of the hopper fleet as part of a new long-term operating agreement under which the cars would continue to be leased to railroads; roads ensure future capacity for regulated grain, and manage and operate the cars as part of a larger fleet; and railways continue to maintain the cars to industry standards as well as initiate a quality enhancement program.

"We feel the plan we presented provides a vibrant option that preserves existing efficiencies while addressing the longer term maintenance needs and replacement requirements of the aging federal fleet," said Marcella Szel, CPR vice president of marketing, bulk commodities, in a prepared statement. "The win-win for all stakeholders is that there would be assured car fleet capacity for shippers, no impact on freight rates and taxpayers' investment would be protected — [the plan also] would eliminate the never-ending debate on disposal price and would stimulate investment by railways in car quality and future replacement."

CPR is interested in acquiring grain cars if government officials decide to dispose of the hopper fleet, said Szel.


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