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CN launches third year of its Safety Innovation Program


MONTREAL, Que.–CN has launched the third year of its Safety Innovation Program. The Program is part of CN’s broader safety agenda and focused on enhancing the safety of operations, the company said.

“For the third year in a row, we’re stepping up our efforts to leverage new technology to bolster our Safety Management System that is designed to minimize risk and continually reduce accidents and injuries. Our general approach is to develop more lines of defence against accidents. Our 2016 Program, which supplements our ongoing investments in track infrastructure maintenance and safety culture, brings the total applied to the Safety Innovation Program to C$67 million since 2014,” Jim Vena, CN executive vice-president and chief operating officer, said.

The 2016 portion will involve spending C$28 million on a series of initiatives, including:

  • The installation of new Wayside Inspection Systems at additional locations specifically identified as a result of CN’s corridor risk assessment program;
  • The acquisition of additional hi-rail trucks that measure track geometric parameters such as rail gauge and cross level, and
  • Predictive analytics and data management initiatives to assess mechanical trends and identify opportunities for pre-emptive maintenance work, as well as give engineering forces a better understanding of track health so that they can prioritize maintenance and capital programs.

A major step in upgrading CN’s detection technology was the completion in 2015 of a new Track Evaluation System car that was upgraded with the latest technology for assessing track geometry, identifying missing and broken track components through optical imaging, as well as objectively evaluating tie condition. CN also employs outside contractors who conduct ultrasonic technology inspections to detect internal rail defects that are not visible.

CN has the densest network of wayside detection technology in North America and has increased the number of wayside inspection detectors on its network by more than 30 per cent in the past decade, and increased the number of wheel impact load detectors by 60 per cent over the same period. CN has also doubled the frequency of ultrasonic flaw detection over the last 10 years.

“The application of new technologies to detect and prevent mechanical and engineering flaws is a key part of our safety mindset. This approach and rigorous safety processes and the continued strengthening of our safety culture are integral to our unwavering commitment to safety,” Vena said.


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