Canadian Pacific to single-track, add CTC to main line to Montreal

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CALGARY, Alberta — Canadian Pacific is single-tracking and adding centralized traffic control to its main line between Smiths Falls, Ontario, and the Montreal area.

The two-year project includes removing 60 miles of double track on the 104.9-mile Winchester Subdivision.

“CP is continuously looking for opportunities to improve its track infrastructure,” spokesman Andy Cummings says. “During 2020 and 2021, CP will remove approximately 60 miles from the north main track of its Smiths Falls, Ontario, to Dorion, Quebec, route and will install a centralized traffic control (CTC) system on the resulting single-track segment.” Dorian is 18.9 miles west of Montreal.

The neighboring Belleville Subdivision, which runs between Smiths Falls and Toronto, is already single-track CTC. The Winchester Sub is currently equipped with an automatic block signaling system.

CP’s Toronto-Montreal main carries between 15 million and 29 million gross ton miles annually, according to the railway’s 2019 Investor Fact Book. The railroad would not say how long sidings will be on the Winchester Sub, but the rest of its network in Eastern Canada can handle 12,000-foot trains, according to the fact book.

Rail will be redeployed elsewhere on the CP system, including the former Central Maine & Quebec that it acquired in June.

“This project will create a safer, more efficient rail network and support CP’s services on the CMQ, including the new intermodal service to and from Port Saint John in New Brunswick via its connection with the NBSR and EMRY,” Cummings says, referring to Irving-owned short lines New Brunswick Southern and Eastern Maine Railway.

CP will spend $75 million over the next three years to upgrade the CM&Q to FRA Class 3 track, which is good for 40 mph, up from 25 mph today. The 262.7 miles from St. Jean, Quebec, on the outskirts of Montreal, to Brownville Junction should be a 40-mph railroad by the end of 2021.

CP aims to nearly triple revenue on the former CMQ within three years.

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