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2022-2023 Winter Planning Initiatives & Investments

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CP has been railroading in challenging winter conditions since 1881. Effective winter planning is essential for ensuring a safe and resilient rail system that continues to serve the needs of our customers and the North American supply chain.

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CP is maintaining strong levels of capital investment in 2022 with approximately $1.55 billion planned for this year’s capital budget. This builds on the $14.3 billion that CP invested between 2012 and 2021 to improve safety, network resiliency and system velocity while enhancing capacity.

These initiatives and investments help mitigate the impact of winter on our network, as well as strengthen the resiliency of our operation and improve our winter operating performance.

CP’s 2022-2023 Winter Contingency Plan Report highlights include:

  • Dramatically improved winter operating performance since adopting the precision scheduled railroading (PSR) operating model a decade ago, while also leading the industry in safety performance
  • Performance metrics that demonstrate the unavoidable impact of harsh winter conditions on the transportation capacity of supply chains
  • Forecasting and predictive winter modelling and company-wide winter contingency planning that help the railway prepare for adverse winter conditions
  • Assessment of CP’s ability to move grain and other traffic during the upcoming winter season based on current winter forecasts and anticipated customer demand

  • The company’s robust 2022 hiring plan that is underway to provide the human resources needed to operate efficiently and meet the demand for rail transportation this winter
  • Technology and innovations that CP is implementing to enhance safety and operational performance
  • Customer communication strategy to facilitate strong supply chain coordination and synchronization throughout the winter
  • Summary of collaboration and cooperation with provincial and federal government departments and agencies
  • An overview of the need for Canada's grain supply chain to improve the ability to load grain to vessels in Vancouver during inclement weather to maximize export capacity

The winter contingency measures that CP has in place strengthen the resiliency of the rail network so that Canadians can rely upon CP to provide a safe and efficient essential freight transportation service. CP’s railroaders are the best in the world, and they are proud to serve the needs of rail customers in the harshest of winter operating conditions.

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Note: T&E metrics validated as of Oct. 18, 2021

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CP continues to make significant improvements to enhance the safety and efficiency of its operations by leveraging industry-leading data analytics and detection technologies to improve the reliability of our equipment and infrastructure.

  • Brake Pipe Airflow Monitoring
    Predicts potential air brake problems to help mitigate the need to reduce train lengths.
  • High-Speed Camera Train Inspection System
    Inspects the train with high-resolution cameras while the train is in motion, enabling CP to identify and address mechanical problems more efficiently.
  • Valve Gasket Designs and Materials
    Used to reduce air leakage when joining air brake hoses throughout the train and improve safety performance and service reliability.
  • Ground-Level Air Temperature Forecast System
    Correlates general area temperature forecasts with local track level historic temperatures to provide a 24-hour forecast of track level ambient temperatures across CP corridors.
Technology and Innovation track monitoring

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CP leverages sophisticated winter weather monitoring systems, prediction models and data from several meteorological services. By forecasting winter conditions across our network, we can proactively respond to adverse winter conditions. As a result, we can maintain the safety of our operations and the fluidity of our network to meet the needs of our customers and the broader supply chain.

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Avalanche monitoring, control and recovery practices play a critical role in mitigating risk to our railway. During challenging winter conditions recovery can take longer, so CP has set measures in place to maintain safety and reduce potential risks, including:

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Using snow/rock slide fences, snow sheds and snowpack monitoring to mitigate risk.

Employing specialized services to set off controlled avalanches in high-risk areas and to perform proactive avalanche management.

Close collaboration with government agencies and departments, including Parks Canada and British Columbia’s Ministry of Highways.

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CP works closely with customers and supply chain stakeholders to strengthen communication and customer service. This is particularly important when unexpected service challenges or volume surges arise during challenging weather conditions.

We have developed tools that provide current shipment and network information, including availability for shipment-based information, carload and intermodal tools and direct access to CP’s Network Service Centre. These tools improve collaboration with our customers and the customer experience by providing visibility into CP’s operations when challenges arise.

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​CP works closely with its customers and other supply chain participants. Our customers play a significant role in preparing for adverse winter conditions. Here's how you can help:

  • Arrange the availability of resources, such as snow removal and sand, in advance of winter.
  • Conduct a fall housekeeping inspection of rail operations prior to the first snowfall to ensure walking areas are free of debris and tripping hazards.
  • Keep flangeways of tracks that run through private or public roads clear of snow, ice and debris at all times.
  • Clear snow buildup caused by vehicles crossing tracks and by snow that has slipped from adjacent rooftops onto siding tracks.
  • Inspect all sidings before service begins.
  • Ensure tracks are regularly cleared of snow buildup to avoid causing restricted or closed clearances.
  • Ensure all restricted/closed clearances and/or track protection signage is unobstructed with clearly visible markings.
  • Maintain all walking areas and switches at the customer facility, ensuring they are free of snow, ice and debris, and have proper drainage.
  • Regularly communicate with CP's Operations Centres to ensure CP can schedule crews and service the facility to maintain safety and productivity.

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At CP, we have an unwavering commitment to safety. It’s fundamental to who we are, and is why CP has led the industry for 16 consecutive years, with the lowest Federal Railroad Administration reportable train accident frequency (per million train miles) among Class 1 railroads in North America.