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4/29/2002



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

CN, CPR sell Niagara Falls bridge to truck-promoting partners


Talk about strange bedfellows: Canada Southern Railway Co. (CASO), jointly owned by Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway, April 29 agreed to sell the Niagara River railway bridge for $12.6 million to a business partnership touting truck benefits.
Whirlpool International Truck Bridge (U.S.A) Inc. and Whirlpool International Truck Bridge (Canada) Inc. (WITB) plan to spend $220 million during the next five years redeveloping the bridge and approaches — which connect Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, N.Y. — to create a dedicated three-lane roadway and international toll bridge designed to expedite truck traffic and alleviate border-crossing congestion. CASO and WITB expect to close the sale next year.
The steel-arch, 1,247-foot bridge — of which 709 feet is on U.S. soil — was built in the early 1920s for Michigan Central Railway. After several ownership changes, it was purchased in 1985 by CN and CPR, and, until Dec. 19, was part of CPR's international gateway route.
CN and CPR late last year agreed to reroute freight trains around Niagara Falls, Ontario, and remove a 6.6-mile railway corridor that cuts through the city's tourist area.
CPR trains that used the downtown line now move on CN’s track to and from the United States via a connection near Brookfield Road in Welland, Ontario. The connection moves CPR trains onto a 12-mile section of CN’s Toronto-to-Buffalo, N.Y. mainline to reach CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway and other roads in Buffalo via CN’s international bridge in Fort Erie, Ontario.


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