Railroad News

CN, Progress Rail to test renewable fuel blends

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 11/3/2021 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image CN and Progress Rail today announced they're partnering with Renewable Energy Group (REG) to test high-level renewable fuel blends, including both biodiesel and renewable diesel. Trials and qualifications of up to 100% bio-based diesel fuel are important steps in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from CN’s existing locomotive fleet, while alternative propulsion locomotive technologies are being developed, CN and Progress Rail officials said in a joint press release. The program will allow CN and Progress Rail to better understand the long-term durability and operational impacts of renewable fuels on locomotives, especially in cold weather, and plan needed modifications to fully leverage their usage over the next decade, they said. Rail has the potential to reduce the environmental impact of transportation services, as shipping heavy freight by rail can reduce carbon emissions by up to 75% when compared to trucks. Looking to 2030 and beyond, reducing fossil carbon emissions associated with rail transportation will continue to require innovative fuel-efficient technologies, the greater use of cleaner sustainable fuels and designing innovative low emission supply chain solutions through investments and collaboration, they added.

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CN issues shareholder letter to counter TCI claims

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 11/2/2021 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image CN today issued a letter to shareholders in connection with its upcoming special meeting slated for March 22, 2022, and in response to recent materials filed by CIFF Capital and TCI Fund Management (collectively TCI). The letter outlines what CN's board and management team believe are TCI's "misleading claims" about the company, which CN officials said have been "disruptive" to the railroad's "sustainable value creation efforts." TCI — the largest shareholder of Canadian Pacific, CN's direct competitor — recently increased its stake in CN so that it could launch a hostile effort to replace four of CN's independent board directors and direct the selection of the company's next executive officer. "We believe that as you come to learn more about TCI and its plans for CN, you will see that its motives are highly suspect and its approach to railroading is outdated, myopic and destructive to longer term value," CN's letter states. A copy of CN's letter can be accessed by clicking here.

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TCI counters CN's claims of 'inaccuracies'

Long-term shareholders CIFF Capital UK LP and The Children's Investment Master Fund, acting by their investment manager TCI Fund Management Ltd., yesterday confirmed they will nominate four independent directors to CN's board at the company's special meeting of shareholders on March 22, 2022.

Those candidates are:
• Gilbert Lamphere, a railroad executive with 40 years of experience in the industry. Lamphere has been a board member of several public and private railroad companies.
• Allison Landry, currently an independent director on the board of XPO Logistics Inc. Landry previously spent 16 years as an equity research analyst at Credit Suisse specializing in the railroad, trucking, airfreight and logistics industries.
• Rob Knight, former chief financial officer of Union Pacific Railroad, a position he held for 15-years. During Knight's 40-year tenure at UP, he held a variety of senior executive positions, including general manager of the company's energy and automotive businesses.
• Paul Miller, an expert in transportation, logistics, safety management and regulatory affairs and a former executive at CN from 1978-2011. During his 33-year career at the company, Miller held leadership roles in operations, marketing and planning. He retired as CN's vice president of safety, sustainability and network transportation in 2011.

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CN sets shareholder meeting requested by TCI

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 10/4/2021 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image CN today announced that it has scheduled a special meeting of shareholders in response to a requisition by CIFF Capital and TCI (collectively TCI). The meeting is scheduled for March 22, 2022. TCI and CN have mutually agreed to the date of the special meeting.
 CN remains committed to executing its ambitious, long-term, sustainable growth strategy, and is grateful for early expressions of support for this plan that it has received from valued shareholders, customers, partners and other key stakeholders., CN officials said in a press release. In making the meeting announcement, the company reiterated its message that it has “best-in-class corporate governance and a strong shareholder engagement program as it continues to focus on operational excellence, a customer-first culture, innovation and ESG leadership.” Over the past year, CN changes to governance included the addition of three new independent directors and achieving gender parity among independent directors ahead of plan. At the company’s most recent annual general meeting, all directors received greater than 95% of votes in favor, and CN’s say-on-pay resolution passed with 97.7% support. TCI’s motives for its requisition are dubious, CN officials said. To read the company’s complete statement, click here.

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CN wins AREMA's Hay award for Louisiana bridge project

The American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) recently named CN the winner of the 2021 Dr. William W. Hay Award for Excellence for the New McComb Bonnet Carre Spillway Bridge project in Louisiana.

The award honors the memory of William Walter Hay, a longtime AREMA contributor and professor of railway civil engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Each year, the association bestows the award to projects that best illustrate safety, innovation and service performance reliability.

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CN prepares plan for upcoming winter season

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 9/30/2021 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image The new plan outlines the challenges the Class I faces operating in Canadian winters. Photo – cn.ca

CN has published its 2021-2022 winter plan to explain how its employees and equipment will be prepared to reduce the impact of harsh weather conditions for customers, while ensuring the safety and effectiveness of its operations.

The plan, which is required by provisions of the Canada Transportation Act, was developed in consultation and collaboration with customers and stakeholders, CN officials said in the press release.

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CN outlines details of its strategic plan

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 9/17/2021 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image "We are now well-positioned to lead the industry through its next transformation by investing in the success of our customers, workforce and communities while delivering enhanced financial results," said CN President and Chief Executive Officer JJ Ruest. Photo – cn.ca

CN today announced the details of its strategic and financial value creation plan, which the Class I said is designed to allow the company to continue delivering high-quality service to customers while generating profitable growth and enhanced returns to shareholders.

The plan builds on CN’s January 2021 strategic plan to lead on safety, customer value, operational excellence, sustainability and social inclusion, while also delivering industry-leading shareholder returns, CN officials said in a press release.

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CN receives notice of termination of KCS merger deal

CN announced today that Kansas City Southern has provided notice of termination of the previously announced May 21, 2021, definitive merger agreement with CN.

The notice was provided after the KCS board determined on Sept. 12 that an updated acquisition proposal from Canadian Pacific was "superior" to CN’s offer to merge with KCS. Today, CP and KCS announced they have entered into a merger agreement, under which CP has agreed to acquire KCS in a stock and cash transaction representing an enterprise value of approximately $31 billion, which includes the assumption of $3.8 billion of outstanding KCS debt.

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TCI launches proxy battle with CN

TCI Fund Management Ltd., one of CN's largest shareholders, has formally started a proxy fight to replace the Class I’s chief executive officer and some board members over the failed attempt to acquire Kansas City Southern.

TCI, which owns a 5% state in CN and opposed the railroad’s proposed merger with KCS, yesterday announced it is calling for a special meeting of CN shareholders for the purpose of adding four new members to the board who will "provide the deep railroad experience the current board lacks," according to a TCI press release.

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CN to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for employees, contractors in Canada

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 9/9/2021 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image More about CN's COVID protocols can be found on the company website. Photo – cn.ca

CN will make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all its employees in Canada as of Nov. 1. 

CN's vaccination policy will apply to all employees and new hires in Canada, as well as to CN's wholly owned subsidiaries, according to a CN news release.

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TCI Fund hires adviser ahead of possible CN proxy fight

TCI Fund Management Ltd. has retained Kingsdale Advisors to act as strategic adviser and engage with CN's shareholders to achieve TCI's objectives of halting CN's pursuit of Kansas City Southern and upgrading its board.

One of CN's largest shareholders, TCI will pursue new board members who, among other things, will have a mandate to identify and appoint a new chief executive officer of CN, TCI officials said in a press release.

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Major investor urges CN to drop its pursuit of KCS

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 9/2/2021 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image TCI Fund Management, one of CN’s largest investors, is calling on the Class I to withdraw its acquisition bid for Kansas City Southern. TCI also is urging CN Chairman Robert Pace and Chief Executive Officer JJ Ruest to step down. TCI, which owns more than 5% of CN’s outstanding shares, announced its position on the same day the Surface Transportation Board’s Aug. 31 decision to deny CN’s request to use a voting trust plan as part of its acquisition of KCS. In an Aug. 31 presentation to the CN board, TCI called for Jim Vena — a former CN chief operating officer who most recently served as chief operating officer at Union Pacific Railroad — to be appointed CEO. TCI also called for former CN board member Gil Lamphere to be appointed as a director. In May, after the STB announced it would apply its latest merger rules regarding voting trusts in its consideration of CN’s proposal to acquire KCS, TCI wrote a stinging letter to Pace calling on the board to drop its pursuit of KCS or alter the merger proposal. "In light of [the May 18th] STB ruling, we think it is negligent and hugely irresponsible for the CN board to commit C$2 billion of shareholders' money on whether the STB will approve the voting trust for the CN-KCS transaction. … The STB is sending a clear signal and the CN board has a duty to listen. The risk that the voting trust is not approved is too great to ignore," TCI's letter stated. TCI's May 18th letter to Pace can be read here. The Aug. 31 presentation to the board can be read here. TCI is also the largest shareholder of Canadian Pacific, which yesterday reaffirmed its Aug. 10 offer to acquire KCS. TCI does not own a position in KCS.

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CN solicits input on interim 'extreme' weather fire plan

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 7/29/2021 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image CN announced today that it is seeking comments on its interim extreme weather fire plan. The plan presents measures to increase prevention, monitoring and responses to wildfire risks when the fire danger level for a given area is "extreme." The measures will supplement existing practices and enable the railroad to serve customers while protecting neighboring communities, CN officials said in a press release. CN is seeking the input of local communities and governments, including Indigenous governments or other Indigenous governing bodies. The deadline to provide feedback is Aug. 30. To submit comments, use the following web-based platform www.cn.ca/extremeweatherplan or call 1-888-888-5909.

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P&H to upgrade grain elevator, other Quill Lake facilities

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 7/23/2021 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image P&H is adding a rail car unloading system that will allow the company to unload a rail car off either track at 272mt/hour. Photo – P&H

Parrish & Heimbecker (P&H) is planning upgrades to its facilities in Quill Lake, Saskatchewan. 

P&H will be increasing its existing 50-car spot to accommodate 100 rail cars from CN in one spot. This upgrade will allow the company to clear twice as much grain out of the facility, according to a news release.

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CN posts ‘strong’ results in Q2

CN yesterday reported second-quarter financial and operating results, including a 13% increase in revenue ton miles (RTMs) year over year and volume growth in virtually every business unit, with notable strength in industrial products, international and domestic intermodal, and propane.

The Class I posted Q2 operating income of CA $1.4 billion, an increase of 76%, or 9% on an adjusted basis, compared with the same period in 2020. Revenue climbed 12% to CA$3.6 billion. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) rose 90% to CA$1.46, and adjusted diluted EPS increased 16% to CA$1.49.

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CN donates to Lytton wildfire relief efforts

CN last week announced it will contribute an additional CA$1.5 million to immediate relief efforts in the village of Lytton, British Columbia, and the Lytton First Nation.

CN’s contribution will be spent according to the expressed needs of the Lytton community and the Lytton First Nation, CN officials said in a press release.

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CN's Ruest to receive 2021 Railroad Innovator Award

Progressive Railroading and RailTrends® have named CN President and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest the 2021 recipient of the Railroad Innovator Award, which recognizes an individual's outstanding achievement in the rail industry.

Ruest, who joined CN at the time the railroad was privatized in 1996, was appointed president and CEO in July 2018 after having served in both posts in an interim capacity since March 2018.

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CN sends STB more letters of support for proposed KCS deal

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 5/12/2021 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image CN today announced today that it has received more than 1,000 letters of support for its proposed acquisition of Kansas City Southern. The number of letters, which have been filed with the Surface Transportation Board, is nearly double the number of support letters filed by Canadian Pacific in less than half the time, CN officials said in a press release. CN will continue to communicate and engage with its customers and various stakeholders as it works towards an agreed-upon transaction with KCS, they said. In March, CP and KCS announced a merger agreement in which CP would acquire KCS in a stock and cash transaction valued at $275 per KCS share. Weeks later, KCS received an unsolicited proposal from CN to acquire KCS in a cash and stock transaction, valued by CN at $325 per share.

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CN orders 1,000 new high-capacity grain cars

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 5/10/2021 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image CN is buying hopper cars to support record grain shipments. Photo – cn.ca

CN has ordered 1,000 new generation, high-capacity grain hopper cars to help meet the growing needs of North American grain farmers and demands of grain customers.

The order is part of a larger program to build and renew a fleet of 6,000 hopper cars over the next three years, CN officials said in a press release.

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CN sets new record for Canadian grain haul

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 5/7/2021 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image CN moved 2.9 million metric tons (MMT) of western Canadian grain in April, exceeding the previous April record of 2.82 MMT set in 2020 and more than 5% ahead of the three-year average of 2.75 MMT. So far, during the 2020-2021 crop year, CN has moved more than 25.6 MMT of Canadian grain via carload. This is an increase of 17% compared to the previous crop year to-date record of 21.9 MMT established in the 2018-19 crop year, CN officials said in a press release. Containerized grain shipments direct from western Canada are also on record pace at more than 860,000 metric tons shipped crop year to-date, in addition to the tonnage shipped from eastern Canada. “Needless to say, the valuable cooperation of our agri-food and supply chain partners was key to achieving these results,” said James Cairns, senior vice president of rail centric supply chain at CN. “We believe that our long-term investment strategy was important in setting these 14 consecutive records, but none of this would have been possible without everyone's dedication.”

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