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CN confirms RoadRailer service terminated

(Todayís Trucking posted the following article on its website on August 4.)

TORONTO -- CN's RoadRailer intermodal service has ceased its commercial operations between Montreal, Toronto and Chicago.

Louise Fillion, spokesperson for CN, confirmed to Today's Trucking that the service has been for the most part discontinued mainly due to the financial fallout of 5,000 mechanics, clerks, and intermodal yard workers who went on strike in February of this year.

''During the month the strike lasted, CN's executives had to take care of some tasks. They realized RoadRailer's activities were not [as profitable] and it could be integrated to the regular train service," Fillion said.

As Today's Trucking reported throughout the strike, many shippers began shifting freight from rail and intermodal on to trucks in order to keep delivery times. Moreover, some of the new-found truck freight extended into longer contracts, provided carriers were able to provide the extra capacity.

"Customers who used to ship only one wagon or one container might have decided to switch to trucks," admits Fillion.

CN introduced its Toronto-Montreal RoadRailer service in September 1999 and extended it to Chicago in October 2000. In 2001, about 600 53-foot Wabash National RoadRailer trailers were put into service.

Mark Hallman at CN's Toronto office said the railway is putting some RoadRailer assets on the market.

Some of the custom-built units are still being utilized by Triple Crown Services -- a bimodal, truckload carrier with 5,500 trailers. Hallman says CN, through a haulage agreement, is still providing services to Triple Crown between Toronto and Detroit.

Triple Crown is a trucking affiliate of Norfolk Southern Corporation, whose rail subsidiary operates 21,500 route miles in 22 states, the District of Columbia, and Ontario.

Thursday, August 5, 2004

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