CN forms Short Line Council to help solidify small-road relationships (5/6/2002)


To help boost small-road generated revenue and smooth short-line concerns, Canadian National Railway Co. recently formed a Short Line Council comprising officials from six short lines and top CN executives.

Officials from RailAmerica Inc., Alberta RailNet Inc., Cando Contracting Ltd., Genesee Rail-One Inc., Quebec Railway Corp. Inc. and Trillium Railway Co. Ltd. plan to meet with CN Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer E. Hunter Harrison, and other CN brass three or four times a year to discuss marketing, operational and related issues.

"It's a way for management to take short-line partnerships to the next level," says CN spokesman Mark Hallman, adding that CN's small-road-associated revenue, which accounts for nearly one-fourth of the Class I's annual revenue, last year increased 5 percent. And CN officials believe there's an opportunity to further raise revenue.

The idea for the council evolved from various meetings during the past six months between CN and short-line officials, as well as the Class I's 7th Annual Short Line Conference held March 10-12 in Oak Brook, Ill.

At the conference, CN and small-road officials agreed to develop ways that would extend trip plans to include short lines; provide for better information exchanges on car ordering and schedules; quicken rate responses through marketing; improve the exchange of safety information; and expand data interchanges to eliminate informational blackholes.

The council plans to hold its first meeting in mid-June, says Hallman.

— Jeff Stagl

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News