Chicago Express Line poses new competition

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PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — CN Rail has launched a new Chicago Express Line as a result of its partnership with B.C. Rail, which the company says can move freight to Chicago two days faster than previously possible by rail.

The new service was announced by provincial Premier Gordon Campbell Oct. 16.

"The new Chicago Express Line is one more reason to celebrate the $1-billion B.C.-CN rail investment partnership," said Campbell. "By integrating B.C. Rail operations, CN can now offer shippers the shortest and fastest route to key markets. Their route from Prince George is 1,050 km closer to Chicago than their competitors and 1,100 km closer to Toronto and Memphis. That translates into a huge savings for shippers over time."

Previously, rail cars headed to Chicago were routed through Winnipeg where they were delayed while cars destined for other locations were switched to other trains. As a result of the new service, CN says shippers will also be able to ship their goods from Prince George to Chicago in 3.5 days 30 per cent faster than before.

"The new Chicago Express Line is one of many tangible benefits British Columbians are starting to see from this $1-billion investment in B.C.," said Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon. "As our provincial railway becomes more competitive, our resource industries become more competitive as well, and that means more jobs for British Columbians."

Officials also said shippers will benefit from an additional 600 new rail cars, an average of a seven per cent reduction of interline shipping rates and an overall improvement in service as a result of the B.C. Rail-CN partnership.

"The resource industry is the heart of the north’s economy, and improving how we move those resources can only mean more positive spin-offs throughout our region," said Prince George-Mount Robson MLA Shirley Bond. "This express line will further strengthen our already burgeoning economy and make northern communities even more competitive."

The $1 billion partnership between B.C. Rail and CN was announced Nov. 25, 2003 and finalized on July 14, 2004.

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