RAIL OPERATIONS AND CAPACITY PLANNING

CANAC's background in capacity planning, operations analysis and engineering design of rail infrastructure is second to none, as demonstrated by our success in helping clients resolve some of the toughest rail operation issues. Our approach is based on understanding the business needs and priorities of the rail carrier and its customers as well as knowledge of operational best-practices. This allows us to develop strategies that are balanced, practical, and implementable.

Our services range from performing simulations in co-ordination with a railroad’s personnel to comprehensive project management with full responsibility to develop and recommend infrastructure and operations improvements on strategic corridors.

Customized Solutions

CANAC has the expertise and tools to provide customized solutions that address the capacity planning needs of a diverse client base including most Class I railroads in North America, rail-based industrial plants, ports, mines, utilities and large multinational corporations requiring freight/heavy haul planning expertise.

CANAC has also performed capacity studies for passenger operators, commuter rail operators, state DOT’s and other government transportation agencies, as well as analysis of mixed freight and passenger traffic sharing main line corridors.

Leading-Edge Modeling Tools

To complement our capacity planning capabilities, CANAC uses reliable, cost effective, and technically superior simulation and modeling tools. CANAC’s proprietary RAILS2000® and Berkeley’s RTC model, among other tools, support CANAC’s ability to provide railroad operations and capacity planning capabilities for freight and passenger environments, integrated services as well as for industrial applications.

Our capacity planning skills compliment our other areas of expertise, enabling us to provide end-to-end integrated railroad solutions worldwide.

Planning Projects

These are some recent Planning Services Projects completed by CANAC. Click on the reference company for a detailed description:

AAR - North American Joint Positive Train Control Project - Washington, DC

In 1998, the ARINC/CANAC team was selected as the system-engineering contractor for the AAR's Positive Train Control (PTC) system project, formerly Advanced Train Control system (ATCS). The objectives of the program was to develop a revenue service PTC system that would significantly reduce train collisions and over-speed derailments, and protect track forces from trains. The NAJPTC pilot system was using communications-based train control (CBTC) technology, a concept that incorporates a mobile data link to provide reliable data communications between the railway dispatch center, trains, track force vehicles and field devices.  The ARINC/CANAC team’s scope of work included developing of the bid documents; assisting in selection and oversight of the System Developer/Integrator; working with the SDI to develop a minimum set of open industry standards to provide for industry interoperability; establishing and documenting procedures to be used for system verification and validation; supporting field and simulation testing of systems for performance to PTC specifications and interoperability standards; recommending changes in operating rules and procedures to accommodate the new technology.

BNSF/UP - Powder River Basin Capacity Evaluation - Fort Worth, TX / Omaha, NE

Since 1991, CANAC has been the prime consultant for both BNSF and UP railroads, to develop strategic operating and capital investment plans that progressively increase rail line capacity in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin (PRB).  This line is the heaviest tonnage operation in the world, moving coal from Wyoming's Powder River Coal Basin, with a target of 500 million annual net tons of coal as projected in the 2006 study.  This on-going relationship has been expanded to include operation and infrastructure design of the rail infrastructure for all ten mine sites that feed the Basin to further ensure the efficient and reliable transport of the coal under current and projected traffic levels. This work has also extended to several independent mandates performed for coal producers and utilities to address operational and infrastructure issues in the on-site handling of coal unit trains.

GO Transit - Rail Planning, Operations and Simulations - Toronto's GO Transit Union Station - Toronto, ON

CANAC conducted simulations and an assessment of infrastructure improvements required for Toronto's Union Station approach trackage and the physical plant to accommodate projected increase in commuter train traffic to 2031, including the introduction of an airport link service.  

Study recommendations included reallocation of platforms for service to the different corridors, changes in train service and identification of additional trackage and crossovers required to accommodate train service.
Transport Canada - Rail Planning, Operations and Simulations - Airport Link Capacity Study - Ottawa, ON

CANAC conducted an assessment of the physical plant of the Toronto Union Station Rail Corridor (USRC) in anticipation of adding a new shuttle service between the station and Lester B. Pearson International Airport.  The service would be called the Toronto Air Rail Link, or TARL.  With projected growth in commuter and intercity services, the capacity of the USRC to accommodate the additional TARL trains was in doubt. 

Operational simulations were performed to assess the capacity of the corridor, and to quantify track and platform usage and their ability to accommodate the TARL service.  Computer simulations overlaid the proposed TARL service, with scenarios assuming 15-minute and 20-minute headways, onto the projected volumes of commuter and intercity trains.  Simulations also incorporated alternate station platform allocation plans.  CANAC’s RAILS2000® software was used to perform the simulations.

Hutchison Ports - Terminal 2 Container Terminal Development at Robert Banks - Rail Options - Vancouver, BC

HPH was one of the companies short listed by Vancouver Port Authority to develop a detailed proposal for the development and operation of Terminal 2 container terminal project at Roberts Banks, Deltaport in Vancouver, BC.  The Vancouver Port Authority has a program to expand the container handling facilities at Roberts Bank in Delta from 900,000 TEUs to an anticipated capacity of 3.2 million TEUs./p> CANAC's role was to provide rail operation and capacity expertise, cost estimates of the proposed rail infrastructure and annual operating cost for proposed rail operation as well as validation of proposed rail operation through manual simulation using rail occupancy charts.

Louisiana Dept of Transport - New Orleans Rail Gateway Study - New Orleans, LA

CANAC was the prime railroad operations consultant to the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development to develop a 20-year, time-phased operations and capital investment plan for the New Orleans regional rail network to improve the safety and efficiency of rail traffic flow through the region. The study involved the integration of business requirements and operating plans of six Class I rail carriers, two shortline operators, the Port of New Orleans, Amtrak as well as future plans for commuter and intercity rail services, including MAGLEV technology.  Simulations of future traffic were performed and results were used to justify the planned $10 million infrastructure upgrade at critical, high volume junction points.

Metra-Chicago Union Station (CUS) Infrastructure & Operational Capacity Study - Chicago, IL

Located in downtown Chicago, the CUS serves commuter and intercity travelers handled by two primary carriers, Metra (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) and Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation).  More than 150,000 passengers utilize the station facilities on a typical weekday, arriving or departing on over 300 train movements.  Amtrak and Metra recognized that the CUS train activities were approaching design capacity and engaged CANAC to perform an analysis of how best to accommodate future demands on the CUS facilities.  The CANAC analysis employed computer simulation techniques to identify necessary infrastructure enhancements to ensure dependable passenger and commuter service.  Transportation demand was examined at five-year increments: 2005, 2010 and 2015.

Tengizchevroil (TCO) - TCO - Sulfur Expansion Project (SEP) - Rail Capacity - Atyrau, Kazakhstan

CANAC undertook a comprehensive evaluation of TCO rail system capacity requirements to support a projected 84% growth in sulfur shipments by rail resulting from the SEP initiative. While the primary focus was to ensure adequate rail capacity to handle sulfur growth, the study also addressed the integrated capacity requirements of all other commodities including crude oil and LPG.

After detailed modeling of TCO’s rail operations CANAC recommended a plant expansion program necessary to accommodate the projected growth of traffic. Detailed design and estimates of proposed rail plant enhancements were also provided.

Rio Tinto - Pilbara Rail Capacity Study - Perth, Australia

CANAC was requested by Rio Tinto to perform a high-level operational overview of the Pilbara rail operation which, in spite of several on-going operating improvement initiatives, including siding additions and operating plan enhancements, had a tonnage pace that remained at least 10% below the target.

Based on the study team’s on-site observations, information gathered from discussions with key management personnel, and background knowledge of pertinent industry benchmarks, CANAC identified potential operational bottlenecks and recommended conceptual solutions worthy of further detailed investigation in following study phases. Potential short term strategies towards achieving a sustainable 220 mmT tonnage delivery rate for the Pilbara rail system were identified. Comments were also provided for a current rail system capacity modeling tool and methodology utilized by the Rio Tinto Capacity Assurance group.

Union Pacific Railroad - Sunset Corridor Master Capital Development Strategy - Omaha, NE

CANAC was the project manager for the development of an operating and infrastructure plan for UP’s vital intermodal corridor (Sunset Corridor) linking the major port terminals in the Los Angeles Basin to the U.S. mid-west gateways in St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago.  The mandate included the assessment of current infrastructure and operations and recommendations for short, medium and long-term horizon recommendations.

Union Pacific Railroad - Capacity Study: Gulf Coast Rail Operations Review, Assessment & Recommendations - Texas

Project managers for the development of a $600 million capital investment plan for the Union Pacific’s congested Texas operations, with a mandate to ‘de-bottleneck’ their network operations. Successfully developed infrastructure and operations design throughout the Gulf Coast Gateway including: route structure, overall operations planning, Storage In Transit (SIT) strategy, terminal and industrial operations and infrastructure investment, as well as integrating the extensive capital improvements with maintenance programs.

Union Pacific Railroad - Capacity Study - Expansion of Metra's West Line - Chicago, IL

Commuter Service

An operational and infrastructure capacity evaluation for the expansion of Metra's West Line Service to Elburn. A series of operational simulations were conducted under 'what-if' scenarios that tested changes to both rail operations and infrastructure with the goal of optimizing performance while minimizing the need to spend additional capital. An operational and capital investment plan was recommended that would serve the needs of both Metra commuter and Union Pacific freight operations. Recommendations included the additions of crossovers, triple tracking portions of the territory, signaling and control system and train and car storage requirements.

Vancouver Port Authority - Port of Vancouver Regional Intermodal Gateway Study - Vancouver, BC

CANAC developed a regional master rail operating and infrastructure plan to ensure that the capacity of the local railway network, including infrastructure (support yards, main line trackage, connections) and related operating plans, would be adequate to provide timely, efficient service to the intermodal terminals (Vanterm, Centerm, and Deltaport) over a 20-year planning horizon. Infrastructure and operating solutions were proposed to address future capacity bottlenecks that would develop with the significant container traffic growth, quadrupling to more than 2.7 million TEU over the 20 year planning horizon.  Potential operating and infrastructure solutions were developed to enhance capacity of main lines operations, near-dock staging yards and terminal access for each of the 5, 10 and 20 year traffic scenarios to ensure future handling of time-sensitive traffic would be both reliable and efficient.

Windalco West Indies Alumina Company - Rail Capacity and Cost Analysis for Ewarton Plant Expansion - Jamaica

CANAC carried out a rail feasibility study and cost analysis for three options under review by Windalco:  Ewarton plant expansion, conversion of two power plants at Ewarton and Kirkvine to coal and the transportation of bauxite from Ewarton to Kirkvine. 

The rail feasibility study focused on determining the number of additional locomotives and cars, train sizing/cycling, the additional rail infrastructure needed at the port, mainline and the two plants, and the incremental capital and operating cost to handle the projected traffic under each of the three options.  An operations analysis was also performed, determining capital and operating costs for four operating possibilities consisting of train operation at two different axle loads and with two different types of locomotives.

For more information on our products and services, contact us by phone at 1-800-588-4387 or by email: info@canac.com.

CANAC Railway Services Inc. is a Corporation that is part of the Savage Group of Companies.

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