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Rail News: Intermodal

CPR launches remote-control locomotives, adds double-stack cars to increase intermodal train capacity


Canadian Pacific Railway recently began moving intermodal trains with mid-train remote-control locomotives — the first Canadian railroad to use the technology, according to a prepared statement.

The remote-control units enable CPR to operate longer intermodal trains in winter. Previously, the Class I shortened trains because cold temperatures tend to reduce air pressure. Since 1995, CPR has readied all new mainline locomotives to operate in leading or remote-control configuration.

A remote-control position locomotive is designed to distribute traction — similar to an all-wheel-drive sports utility vehicle — and increase air pressure to ensure sufficient braking power along a train's length in freezing temperatures.

To bolster its intermodal service, CPR also is obtaining 5,500 double-stack cars and rationalizing 1,300 intermodal cars. The new cars are designed to increase containers per train about 28 percent and decrease train starts about 16 percent. By year end, CPR expects to begin using about 2,000 of the cars, with the remainder following in early 2004.

"Over the past several years, we have significantly increased the capacity in our intermodal facilities and expanded track sidings to accommodate longer trains," said CPR President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Ritchie in a prepared statement. "Now the next critical steps — phasing in remote-control locomotives and introducing a new rail-car fleet — are under way."

In 2002, CPR generated $900 million of its annual $3.5 billion revenue from intermodal business.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/18/2003