Jeramey Jannene

Canadian National Investing $100 Million In Wisconsin

New automobile shipping facility planned near Minnesota border. Railroad has invested $970 million in five years.

By - Jul 24th, 2020 11:20 am
A pair of Canadian National locomotives. Image by Dan from PQ, Canada / CC BY-SA (

A pair of Canadian National locomotives. Image by Dan from PQ, Canada / (CC BY-SA)

Canadian National (CN) will invest approximately $100 million in its Wisconsin railroad infrastructure. The latest announcement brings the company’s five-year capital expenditures in the state to $970 million.

The company operates 1,428 miles of track in Wisconsin with approximately 1,413 employees. It reports much of its Badger State business comes in a corridor from Milwaukee to Green Bay near Lake Michigan.

But the signature piece of the railroad’s 2020 investment will take shape near the state’s Minnesota border on a mainline that runs to Minneapolis. CN will build a 58-acre auto compound in New Richmond, part of a plan to leverage the growth in the sale of sport utility vehicle (SUV) and light truck sales.

The railroad reports access to 11 vehicle assembly plants in Michigan and Ontario, with another plant on its network in Mississippi. It ships vehicle parts from its Vancouver, Canada port to the plants and already ships 70 percent of vehicles sold in Canada.

A joint press release from the City of New Richmond and Town of New Richmond says the railroad would use the site for more than shipping automobiles, and also would route shipping containers through the site. A CN report says the New Richmond compound could process up to 40 railcars per day and 100,000 automobiles annually. The company operates intermodal facilities in Chippewa Falls and Arcadia.

“We take our essential role in the North American economy seriously and these investments in Wisconsin are a key part of our strategy to support growth,” said Derek Taylor, vice president of CN’s Eastern Region, in a statement. “The company remains committed to help enable supply chains that fuel Wisconsin’s growth as we are a critical part of getting everyday goods to markets and consumers.”

CN is the largest railroad operator in Wisconsin.

As part of the statewide maintenance plan, nine miles of rails and 60,000 railroad ties will be replaced. The company will also rebuild 48 road grade crossings and perform work on culverts, signal systems and other track infrastructure. It will also perform maintenance on its Great Lakes marine vessels that serve ports in Green Bay and Superior.

Last year the company announced a $120 million investment that included replacing 35 miles of rails and 90,000 ties.

The company operates a 20,000-mile railroad network that stretches from Vancouver, Canada and the Pacific Ocean, through the Midwest, to Halifax, Canada and the Atlantic Ocean. CN acquired Wisconsin Central in 2001, the Wisconsin-branded railroad was created from a former Milwaukee Road operating division.

Canadian National owns limited trackage in Milwaukee County, only a line running north from W. Mill Road and N. Sydney Place, but it has direct connections to the Canadian Pacific and Union Pacific lines that loop through the county. CN operates a north-south line through Waukesha County that connects the state’s northern half with Chicago.

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Categories: Transportation

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