Cargill completes $20-million rail capacity project in Lethbridge
Date: Tuesday, October 8, 2019
LETHBRIDGE, AB – A project more than five years in the making, will allow Cargill to now have a significantly-higher capacity to ship crops out to the west coast.
Regional Manager Allan Facchinutti says they have nearly tripled the number of rail cars that they can send out of the Lethbridge facility at one time.
“When we would load 56 cars, we would ship approximately about 5,000 tonnes of grain, wheat, canola, durum, peas. Now with the 134 car stop and CP’s new rail cars they’ve got, we can ship upwards of 15,000 tonnes in one spot.”
All of the products that are sent out of Cargill’s facility along Highway 3 are shipped to Vancouver, where they will then be sent by boat to numerous countries along the Pacific corridor.
Facchinutti says farmers across the region are thrilled about the increased capacity.
“For them, you know, it’s another outlet for more of their grain and their production. Farmers continue to grow more production every year as the agronomic techniques get better and better and better.”
The most challenging part of the expansion was figuring out how to retrofit a project like this in the middle of a city that is growing in all directions around it.
For those unfamiliar, part of Cargill’s project involved work on the train tracks along the highway.
“We had to put in another rail line all the way down to that [highway pedestrian overpass] so that they could spot the string of 134 cars all at once. As part of CP’s efficiency program, they spot 134 cars, leave them for us, we have to load them in a specific amount of time, and then they come and pick them up in one string as well.”
Crews are still putting in the final touches of the Highway 3 rail upgrades, but they should be finished in the next week or so.
Facchinutti says they would have never been able to accomplish this expansion if not for the cooperation and partnerships with the City of Lethbridge, the Ministry of Transportation, and CP Rail.