CP to boost N.D. development, cites grain production

Noting the state’s “increased grain production,” Canadian Pacific Railway plans to budget an extra $100 million for infrastructure work and more personnel in North Dakota.

“North Dakota is a source of growth for CP and the Midwest’s economy with its increased grain production, vast oil deposits in the Bakken Formation (straddling North Dakota, Montana and Saskatchewan) and the continued strength of ethanol,” Jane O’Hagan, chief marketing officer for the Calgary-based railway, said in a release Friday.

The company’s investment plan in the state for the period 2010 to 2012 “will expand network capacity and enhance rail service in order to meet increased traffic demands,” CP said.

Among the infrastructure projects on CP’s agenda are capacity expansions over the next two years on the railway’s New Town, Portal and Carrington subdivisions.

Those include yard track extensions at Max, about 50 km south of Minot, and at Flaxton, about 60 km southeast of Esetvan, Sask. A new runaround track is budgeted at New Town, about 120 km southwest of Minot, CP said.

CP also plans an increased budget for maintenance work on the Newtown subdivision, including over 25 km of rail replacement between Drake (about 80 km southeast of Minot) and Max, with upgrades at 41 rail crossings.

Snow fencing and grading projects are also planned to reduce winter snow drifting between Drake and Max, the company said.

Current-year infrastructure investment is to begin later this spring and “a majority” of work is to be completed this fall.

On the human resources side, CP said it plans to hire over 70 new employees to expand its North Dakota train crew base in 2011 and boost its workforce in the state by 18 per cent, for which it’s “currently recruiting.”

CP also plans to set up a new superintendent-of-operations territory within the state, focused on traffic across the state between Portal (southeast of Estevan on the state’s border with Saskatchewan) and Enderlin (about 90 km southwest of Fargo).

Overall, CP expects the planned improvements “will help alleviate current concerns, and meet our customers’ future demands for consistent, reliable rail transportation alternatives,” O’Hagan said.

“This is another step forward in our continuing efforts to expand our market access for farmers, for oil production and other industry,” North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple said in the company’s release.

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