Improvements to the Burnaby rail corridor to better access the North Shore port terminals are completed.
The CN, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) and the City of Burnaby say the finished upgrades have cut commutes in half for trains waiting in Burnaby for the tunnel to vent.
Roughly 65 per cent of rail traffic through Burnaby goes to the North Shore and the improvements will result in more trains per hour delivering export goods to port terminals and will reduce idling.
"Congratulations to CN and everyone involved in completing the rail components of this important infrastructure project, which aims to reduce transportation bottlenecks and increase our country’s trade efficiency," said Cliff Stewart, VFPA vice president of infrastructure, in a news release.
"Congratulations to CN and everyone involved in completing the rail components of this important infrastructure project, which aims to reduce transportation bottlenecks and increase our country’s trade efficiency."
Components of the project included:
- Upgrades to the Thornton Tunnel ventilation system to reduce the time between trains travelling through the tunnel
- A new rail siding track from Willingdon Avenue to Piper Avenue, parallel to existing tracks to stage trains accessing the Thornton Tunnel
"The investments to upgrade Thornton Tunnel are already reducing the amount of time trains wait to transit to and from the North Shore," CN western region president James Thompson added.
"This significantly improves rail fluidity to North Shore port terminals and supports our customers. CN is proud that its employees and contractors completed this important project safely, and we thank the Government of Canada, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the City of Burnaby for their support.”
The next phase of the project will see the port authority lead work to deliver a new, four-lane overpass extending and elevating Holdom Avenue south over the rail corridor and Still Creek, and connecting with Douglas Road.
The VFPA says it is expecting to begin construction in 2023, following a final phase of public engagement and procurement activities.
"As the city works towards its transportation and climate goals we are pleased to see progress on this project," Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley said.
"Limiting the time that trains wait in Burnaby will reduce emissions and supports economic activity. We also look forward to the community benefits of the new overpass, particularly improved north-south connectivity, better access for walkers and cyclists, and recognition of local Indigenous groups through new artwork."
The project is jointly funded by the federal government through its national trade corridors fund, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and CN.