Increased track inspections further improve CN's safety performance
MONTREAL, Oct. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - CN (TSX: CNR)(NYSE: CNI) today accepted
delivery of a new track geometry vehicle for the electronic inspection of
track curvature, alignment and cross-level of rail lines across its network.
The state-of-the-art, self-propelled vehicle is bi-directional and
supplements CN's high-tech TEST (Track Evaluation System) car for gathering
continuous, real-time printed reports on track condition. CN engineering
forces use the reports to address any track irregularities and to plan
long-term rail replacement programs.
In a first for CN, the new vehicle -- custom-built for CN by Gateway Rail
Services Inc. of Madison, Ill., with a geometry system produced by ENSCO Inc.
of Falls Church, Va. - is equipped with high-speed cameras and optical
recognition software to detect possible flaws in joint-bars that connect
sections of rail.
Paul Miller, CN's chief safety and transportation officer, said:
"Maintaining proper track geometry is integral to safe train operations. The
acquisition of the new vehicle will permit us to increase the amount of
in-house main line track-geometry testing across our network. We take quality
track seriously. Of CN's $1.5 billion capital budget this year, C$1.1 billion
is focused on track infrastructure."
In 2007, CN conducted geometric testing of approximately 65,000 miles of
track, an increase of 35 per cent over 2006. This year CN plans to boost its
geometric testing by a further 15 per cent to 75,000 track miles.
CN also employs contractors using vehicles with sophisticated ultrasonic
technology to detect internal rail defects that normally cannot be detected
visually during routine track inspections. Ultrasonic rail flaw testing will
increase to about 145,000 miles this year, double what CN did five years ago.
In addition, CN uses a wide range of other technologies to monitor the
condition of locomotives and freight cars moving over its network. These
include hot bearing detectors, hot wheel detectors, dragging equipment
detectors, wheel impact load detectors and wheel profile detectors. CN has one
of the highest applications of such detectors of any railroad in North
"Our increased focus on track geometry and ultrasonic rail inspections in
recent years has contributed to CN's improved safety performance in 2008,"
said Miller. "CN's total Transportation Safety Board of Canada-reportable
(TSB-reportable) train accidents are down more than 30 per cent year-to-date
through Oct. 26, 2008, in comparison with the same 2007 period. Of particular
note is the 26 per cent reduction in CN main-track TSB-reportable accidents,
as well as a 45 per cent reduction in total accident severity."
CN's 2008 Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) train accident rate
through Oct. 26 of this year was 2.55 per million train miles. The 2008 Class
1 railroad FRA industry average train accident ratio in North America through
the end of July 2008 - the latest available data - was 2.95.
View a photograph of the new track geometry vehicle at
CN - Canadian National Railway Company and its operating railway
subsidiaries - spans Canada and mid-America, from the Atlantic and Pacific
oceans to the Gulf of Mexico, serving the ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert,
B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the key
metropolitan areas of Toronto, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Duluth,
Minn./Superior, Wis., Green Bay, Wis., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, and
Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America. For more
information on CN, visit the company's website at www.cn.ca.
For further information:
For further information: Media: Mark Hallman, Director, Communications,
Media, (905) 669-3384; Investment Community: Robert Noorigian, Vice-President,
Investor Relations, (514) 399-0052