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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

'Sprint' train on the run in Ontario, Canada, for CN, short line, steel producer


After four years of planning, a Canadian shipper, Class I and short line Feb. 19 started up the Stelco Sprint Train, a 62-mile dedicated service between Nanticoke and Hamilton, Ontario.
RailAmerica Inc. subsidiary Southern Ontario Railway (SOR) daily moves a 20-car train of hot-rolled coil steel for steel producer Stelco Inc. via locomotives and specially designed rail cars provided by Canadian National Railway Co.
Revenue generated by the service is shared by the 54-mile short line and CN, which also granted SOR running rights to complete two 12-hour runs (empty and loaded). Stelco maintains track at either end of the shipments.
Stelco officials in 1998 approached the short line to explore the possibility of diverting its truck traffic to rail.
"They benefit by tackling what had been a community issue of so many trucks rolling down the hill while gaining some transportation savings," says Colleen Fenton, SOR manager of business development.
A number of issues delayed the service's ramp up, including negotiations with CN regarding the running rights, working out production snags with Stelco and upgrading the short line's track to handle 286,000-pound cars, says Fenton.
And CN required time to design and build the 44 specialty cars, of which 30 are complete and on line.
Jeff Stagl