SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Canadian Pacific was running its first dedicated intermodal train to Atlantic Canada in more than a decade on Friday, the same day the railroad’s CEO was meeting with the Premier of New Brunswick to talk about its future in the region.
CP officials have been touting an “East Coast advantage” over long-time rival Canadian National ever since it purchased the Central Maine & Quebec Railway in late 2019. The U.S. Surface Transportation Board approved the deal earlier this year and CP formally took over the short line in June. On Friday, the first eastbound intermodal train was running across Maine bound for Brownville Jct., where it will be interchanged with J.D. Irving’s Eastern Maine Railway and New Brunswick Southern Railway for the rest of the journey to Saint John.
While CP had vowed to eventually run intermodal trains to Saint John following its acquisition of CMQ, Friday’s run came earlier than expected due to a strike at the Port of Montreal. Ships that were meant to go to Montreal have now been diverted to Saint John, Halifax and elsewhere.
CP CEO Keith Creel was meeting with New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs on Friday and said the railroad is excited about its return to Atlantic Canada. CP sold its mainline to the Maritimes in the mid-1990s and it was operated by a number of short lines, including Canadian American, Montreal Maine & Atlantic and CMQ.
“The return of CP is a game-changing opportunity for not only Saint John and New Brunswick, but for all of Atlantic Canada,” Premier Higgs said. “This provides a competitive option for our region to access both domestic and international markets.”