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CN yesterday announced it's accelerating a $33 million line upgrade in Wisconsin to increase rail-car loading capacity and train velocity for growing frac sand business from Badger Mining Corp., Preferred Sands of Wisconsin L.L.C., Atlas Resin Proppants L.L.C. and Taylor Frac L.L.C.The railroad now plans to improve a 74-mile section of track in its Whitehall Subdivision between Wisconsin Rapids and Blair, Wis., in three years instead of four. Work began in 2012 and the entire project is slated for completion in December 2014.The project will enable CN to move loaded frac sand cars weighing a maximum of 286,000 pounds, helping to boost productivity and velocity."We are investing in increased rail capacity on the Whitehall Subdivision to help move more frac sand, and to develop a more robust supply chain for our customers in Wisconsin to connect with the oil and gas shale basins in North America," said Jean-Jacques Ruest, CN's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, in a press release.Badger Mining has significantly increased frac sand production capacity at its Taylor, Wis., facility and the trackwork will enhance the company's ability to efficiently transport product to new and existing customers, said EVP Stephen Hart.For Atlas Resin Proppants, the project will improve rail-car utilization, expand product distribution and help the company provide better service to customers in key shale markets, said EVP Dan Valiquette.
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