MORE THAN 75% of Canadian Pacific Railway’s diesel loco fleet will be maintained and repaired by contractors, following an expansion of the programme announced on September 25.

CPR has contracted OmniTRAX Locomotive Canada to supervise ’field servicing’ of about 175 diesel locos, most of them low-horsepower units assigned to yard work in Québec, Ontario and the northeastern USA. This will eliminate the need to move the locos to depots, halving the time each is out of traffic.

Existing agreements with General Electric and General Motors will also be expanded. GM will supervise maintenance of 400 locos at CPR’s Winnipeg depot, and about 150 at Toronto. GE will supervise work on about 185 locos at Port Coquitlam near Vancouver, and 325 in St Paul, Minnesota. CPR employees will continue to do the actual work.

Executive Vice-President, Operations, Ed Dodge says CPR loco utilisation has risen by more than 30% since the first maintenance contracts were signed in 1998, although average train weights had climbed about 10%.