CANADA: Canadian National’s C$35m employee training centre in Winnipeg was officially inaugurated on September 9.

President & CEO Claude Mongeau said ‘this state-of-the-art training centre is a cornerstone in CN’s workforce renewal, which this year will see the hiring of more than 3&bsp;500 employees across our North American network. It will enhance our railroader training programmes, help us instil a strong safety culture in our new hires and reinforce it among current employees who are learning new skills or upgrading existing ones.’

The training campus is located alongside CN’s Transcona workshops and marshalling yard. ‘Winnipeg is the hub of our transcontinental network’, Mongeau explained. ‘All of CN’s east-west transcontinental traffic and our north-south cross-border traffic is funnelled through the city.’

Work on the 9 000 m² facility began in October 2012, and the first trainees arrived in April this year. The centre can train up to 500 CN students from across Canada every week, offering ‘hands-on training for all key railway jobs’, including freight train operations, and rolling stock, track and signalling maintenance.

The centre’s indoor learning laboratories are provided with a range of equipment including six locomotive simulators and dispatcher workstations. Outdoor training areas accommodate dedicated rolling stock, and mobile equipment has been developed for field training, including work with emergency response teams.

CN expects to open a second centralised training facility in October for its US employees; this is located next to the former Illinois Central Woodcrest workshops complex in the Chicago suburb of Homewood.