CN is bullish on Prince George, a 20 million dollar investment in the first avenue container yard, is expected create 50 full time jobs to start, and with more on the horizon as the container yard becomes fully utilized.
That development and an outline of CN’s plans for Northern BC were presented to a Prince George Chamber of Commerce luncheon today. At the luncheon, CN Rail's General Manager of the Mountain Division, Tom Bourgonje, shared the details of the major change to come to the Prince George economy.
In his address, Bourgonje expanded on the plans for Prince George with some 2200 feet of track to be added to the Prince George rail facility, with the designation of #98 and #99, the latter apparently dubbed the Gretzky line. The tracks will service one extra train each way, each day to start servicing the Prince Rupert container port and points east and south of Prince George.
It’s expected that the crews assigned to the container yard in Prince George will handle 60 to 70 containers a day from the downtown yard.
Opinion 250 had a full story on the latest developments in Prince George including a review of spending from CN thus far as they prepare to link their transportation network through the US and Canada all the way to the Pacific ocean.
Inland container Port on track
Opinion 250 News
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
CN Rail's General Manager of the Mountain Division, Tom Bourgonje, says the inland container port to be built at the First Avenue rail yards in Prince George will create 50 full time jobs.
That project is costing CN $20 million dollars and Bourgonje says it will be ready in time "Basically we're right on track. We've started doing all the building modifications we have to do to our buildings in the yard and we have a design that is done, we have a design in place, and we have the contracts going out and everything wil be done by our deadline of October first."
Two track lines, 2200 feet long are being added to the First Avenue yard, and that will enable the crews to handle 60 - 70 containers a day. Initially it will see one extra train each way . The train's have already been given numbers #99 ( dubbed the Gretzky) and #98.
"We are about to see a geographical shift in North America's transportation. We are going to make Prince George the centre of the world, and it is going to become a major North American corridor, there is just no doubt about it."
In his luncheon address to the Prince George Chamber of Commerce, Bourgonje praised all who worked on landing the inland intermodal port "Everyone here has done an excellent job in proving the business case to locate the inland port in Prince George, this is an incredible opportunity not only for Prince George, but for all the communities around it."
While he says the completed facility will employ 50 people, Bourgonje says that could grow " That could of course expand as things ramp up and customers see how it works, there could be an increase in demand. Right now we are focusing on the east-west corridor and Chicago and Memphis."
Bourgonje says CN is spending $1.6 billion dollars in 2007 on capital and infrastructure.
Here are some of the dollars being spent:
-- ordered 50 new locomotives,
-- purchased 1100 new platform cars ( that could be increased to 3300)
-- $350 million on the Prince Rupert Port, with terminal, tracks, new tunnels, extra sidings, and extensions to sidings between Winnipeg and Prince Rupert.
-- $20 million on Prince George container port
Bourgonje is aware customers and communities are very concerned about safety. "Simply put, it is in our best business interest to our customers, our employes and our communities to operate a safe and efficient railway."
"In 2005 we had a rash of incidents which we are not very proud of, but we developed a foucs safety action plan and we live to it to a T" Bourgonje says following that plan helped the railway reduce accidents in 2006 by 50%. "We are going to continue to be super, super focused on safety."
Bourgonje wrapped up his address saying "CN is very proud to be in your community, and we are very proud of our employees in your community."