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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

RAC shuffles board, wages information campaign to promote Canadian rails as border-congestion busters


Railway Association of Canada (RAC) Nov. 5 elected Canadian Pacific Railway President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Ritchie chairman and Canadian National Railway Co. President and CEO Paul Tellier, vice chairman.

The 56-member association also expanded its board from seven to eight members, including three short-line and one passenger rail representative. Board vacancies will be filled by Serge Belzile, president of Chemins de fer du Quebec; Shawn Smith, regional vice president of RailAmerica Inc.'s northwest region; and Marc LeFrancois, president and CEO of VIA Rail Canada. Wayne Ettinger, president of Trillium Railway, was named to fill a new board position.

Brian McKeown of Essex Terminal Railway plans to retire from the board by year-end.
Ritchie also was named RAC representative on Association of American Railroads' board with Tellier as alternate.

Meanwhile, RAC officials Nov. 1 delivered to Canada's parliament a message stating railroads can do more to reduce border congestion and elevate Canada's economy.

RAC claims Canada exports 85 percent of its goods to the United States while 50 percent of U.S. exports come to Canada.

"Almost two million freight shipments a year cross the Canada-U.S. border by rail," said RAC President and CEO Bill Rowat in a prepared statement. "That's the equivalent of some six million trucks that aren't on highways."

Rowat and Canadian Association of Railway Suppliers President John Marinucci are leading an information blitz entitled "On Track for the Future" targeting Canadian and U.S. government officials.

Through the blitz, both associations hope to convey the message that Canadian railroads have been constrained from making needed capital improvements to stay competitive with rival U.S. rails — mostly due to taxation, as association officials claim Canadian railroads pay twice the taxes of U.S. rails and 29 percent more than Canadian trucking firms.

"The irony is that Canadian railways are working to take trucks off already congested highways through expedited service packages and innovative new ways of carrying truck trailers on rails," said Marinucci. "Every 100-car train takes 275 big trucks off the highways, for example, including those roads leading to and from border gateways."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/5/2001