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2021-2022 Winter Planning Initiatives & Investments

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CP has been railroading in challenging winter conditions for more than 135 years. 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 investing $1.6 billion in capital improvements in 2020-21 to further enhance network capacity and improve performance and safety. These include:

  • Network enhancement projects
  • Air brake flow monitoring
  • Expanding application of automated train brake effectiveness (cold wheel detection) technology
  • Ground-Level Air Temperature Forecast System expansion
  • Leveraging predictive analytics to forecast rolling stock equipment failures before they happen
  • Implementing a High-Speed Camera Train Inspection System
 
  • In-house testing of new air brake valve gasket materials
  • Modernizing 201 high-horsepower main line locomotives
  • Training over 400 employees (in various stages system-wide)
  • Enhancing customer communications tools through CP’s Customer Station portal
  • Reinforcing CP’s Home Safe program

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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
    Predict 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 improve 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 15 consecutive years, with the lowest Federal Railroad Administration reportable train accident frequency (per million train miles) among Class 1 railroads in North America.