ON MAY 11 Canadian National announced plans to ’rationalise’ a further 2650 route-km of secondary lines, under the Canada Transportation Act. CN plans to transfer around 2087 route-km to short lines and close the rest. According to President & CEO Paul Tellier, ’CN’s objective is to create a low-cost growth-oriented feeder network of short lines, allowing us to focus on becoming a high-density long-haul railway.’

Lines for transfer include: the 220 km St André - Matane line along the St Lawrence river northeast of Quebec City; the 157 km Sherbrooke subsdivision in Quebec; 261 km of the Alexandria and Beachburg subdivisions in Ontario’s Ottawa Valley; the 172 km Guelph - Fergus route southwest of Toronto; 384 km of lines northeast of Edmonton in Alberta; 691 km northwest of Edmonton; and the 114 km Pine Falls line northeast of Winnipeg. Provision will be made for VIA services where necessary.

Since 1992, CN has sold or abandoned more than 10000 route-km. At the end of 1997 its network totalled 24600 route-km in Canada and the USA, to which the merger with Illinois Central will add 4200 km. o